Human health risk

Community Health Risk Assessment of Oil and Gas Impacts in Garfield County

Oil and gas activity within Garfield County has generated public concern with regard to impacts on both the environment and public health. Often, public perception of potential health risks becomes an overriding concern. The public may feel as though their health is at risk and they may wish to obtain an understanding of possible threats to their health, as well as acknowledgement by the oil and gas industries of their concerns. Opening this dialogue through research and presentation of findings from a "neutral" third party will promote an informed discussion of the real and perceived impacts of extractive industries and could serve as a focal point for collaborative resolutions to community and industry concerns over the balance between the risks and benefits of natural resource extraction.

In 2008, St. Mary's Saccomanno Research Institute and Mesa State College, with the help of communities in Garfield County, released  a study of health risks related to oil and gas industry activities. This project involved a "three-pronged" approach to the assessment of human health risks: community focus groups, human health risk assessment, and data analysis and communication.

Scope of Work

Executive Summary

Final Report (pdf) / Final Report (web)


Risk Assessment Presentation - Dr. Russ Walker (6/17/08)

Health Study Presentation - Dr. Theresa Coons (6/17/08)

Garfield County Air Toxics Inhalation: Screening Level Human Health Risk Assessment

This report discusses results for a screening-level risk assessment of potential human health impacts from inhalation of air toxics (i.e., Volatile Organic Compounds; VOCs) in Garfield County, Colorado. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if residents at any of the locations are being exposed to airborne concentrations of VOCs via inhalation that may pose unacceptable risks to human health. This evaluation is routinely conducted by CDPHE toxicologists and epidemiologists to address concerns from local citizens about potential health effects from air pollution in the area, primarily as a result of the dramatic increase in oil and gas development activities.

2008 Final report (2005-2007 data)

2010 Final report (2008 data)

2015 Final report (2008-2012 data)

Powerpoint presentation - Dr. Raj Goyal (6/17/08)

Health Consultation: Public Health Implications of Ambient Air Exposures to Volatile Organic Compounds as Measured in Rural, Urban, and Oil & Gas Development Areas

The purpose of this document is to identify any potential public health implications resulting from inhalation of volatile organic compounds in Garfield County and recommend actions to reduce the exposure, if necessary. The Garfield County Public Health Department requested assistance from the Colorado Cooperative Program for Environmental Health Assessments (CCPEHA) to evaluate the potential public health hazards with respect to air pollution in the county.

Health consultations focus on health issues associated with specific exposures so that the state or local department of public health can respond quickly to requests from concerned citizens or agencies regarding health information on hazardous substances. The Colorado Cooperative Program for Environmental Health Assessments (CCPEHA) of the Environmental Epidemiology Section (EES) evaluates sampling data collected by our partners, determines whether exposures have occurred or could occur in the future, reports any potential harmful effects, and then recommends actions to protect public health. The findings in this report are relevant to conditions at the site during the time this health consultation was conducted and should not necessarily be relied upon if site conditions or land use changes in the future.

2008 Final report (2005-2007 data)

PowerPoint final presentation - Shannon Rossiter (6/17/08)

2010 Final report (2008 data)

Public Health - Rifle
195 West 14th Street
Rifle, CO 81650
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  Public Health - Glenwood Springs
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Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
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