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Health Department Launches Natural Gas Health Effects On Line Survey

WHEELING, WV — The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department has launched an on-line Natural Gas Health Effects Survey.  The survey is part of the departmentís on going research of Marcellus (Shale) gas drilling and its impact on air quality and public health.

The on-line health effects survey was developed by the health department to allow individuals to report non-identifiable data on specific health concerns and problems they may have due to drilling activity in their area.

One of the goals of the on line survey is to provide anavenue for voluntarily sharing of environmental health concerns, both real andperceived.  The program also empowers the community with resources where individuals can maintain a health diary to keep track of their personal and familyís health.

The survey takes about 15-20 minutes to complete and all data is kept confidential and will be used for research purposes only.  A financial donation from the Elysian Fields Farm and Penny Miller of Wheeling assisted in the funding of the on line survey tool. The on-line reporting tool was developed locally by Beyond Marketing of Wheeling, West Virginia.

The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department and West Virginia University, School of Public Health, have been working together on a research project to find out if Marcellus gas drilling is affecting the air quality inthe region.  Wheeling-Ohio County Health Departmentís Regional Epidemiologist, Somu Chatterjee, M.D., MPH and Michae McCawley, Ph.D., West Virginia University School of Public Health have been monitoring air quality and other risk factors around gas drilling sites in Ohio County and other parts of West Virginia.

Data on the health effects of Marcellus gas drilling in West Virginia is very limited.  The health department hopes that this survey, along with other research data, will be helpful in developing long term public health guidelines in regards to natural gas drilling in the state.

For more information about the survey contact the health department at (304) 234-3682.

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