Iowa Board Endorses Study of Frac Sand Health Impact

According to the Decorah Newspapers, the Winneshiek, Iowa, County Board of Supervisors has unanimously endorsed a study that will address the public health impact of frac sand mining.

At a recent meeting, the Board endorsed the proposed study, which would be a collaboration between the University of Iowa and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Dr. Peter Thorne, head of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health and director of the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center at the University of Iowa, will apply for the grant from the National Institute of Health, on behalf of Winneshiek County.

Last month, the Board heard a presentation from Tom Peters of the University of Iowa regarding air quality and the effects of particulate matter as the result of frac sand mining; however, Peters said there was no money available for the University to conduct further study.

Since then, the county was contacted by Dr. David Osterberg of the University of Iowa’s Occupational and Environmental Health Department. He said the National Institute of Health has grant monies available for such a study.

Thompson explained, if funded, the study would encompass two things: 1) It would evaluate community risks associated with increased ambient particulate matter (PM) exposures from sand mining operations through air monitoring, air shed-level modeling and risk assessment; and 2) Facilitate communications to assess community concerns and report on findings from item No. 1.

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