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Families Blast Chesapeake Energy, Corbett, After Bradford County Blowout; Describe Health Impacts From Contaminated Water

April 25, 2011

Upset residents of Bradford County express themselves outside Cheseapeak Energy offices (Source: CHERYL R. CLARKE/Sun-Gazette)

Angered by the toxic blowout in Bradford County last week, at least four dozen residents including impacted families gathered outside Chesapeake Energy headquarters last Friday, April 22, to protest.

But the blowout is far from the only outrage these families have experienced.  After Chesapeake began drilling, many of them have had methane migrate into their water; some of them have become seriously ill, with blood tests showing high levels of strontium, barium, arsenic, radium and other contaminants.  (Recently photojournalist Nina Berman reported about similar severe medical problems and barium blood levels so high that families have been forced to leave their homes after gas drilling began near the Susquehanna River.)

The Williamsport Sun-Gazetter reported about the protest, and the human health impacts, on April 23.

Selected excerpts from the Williamsport Sun Gazette article “Families blast gas exploration.”

“Just a few days after a Chesapeake natural gas drilling site flowback fluid spill contaminated pasture land and spilled into Towanda Creek here, Attorney Todd O’Malley led a group of about four dozen protesters, many of them who have had their water spoiled – they say by natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale – in a protest across the street from Chesapeake’s headquarters here Friday.

“Crystal Stroud, 29, a hair stylist from Granville Summit…said she finally went to a doctor after she became so ill her hair started falling out and she was unable to perform her job because her muscles were weak and she was experiencing severe tremors in her hands. She also experienced a racing heart, high blood pressure and stomach cramps.

The water test revealed high doses of lead, strontium, barium, arsenic, radium and other chemicals, she said, and she immediately stopped drinking the water, but the damage had been done.

She broke down as she described the results of a blood test her doctors ordered last week, it was found to contain high levels of barium, which can cause heart and liver damage, as well as the other symptoms she experienced.

She said she is extremely concerned especially about the high levels of lead in the water and how it could affect her child’s brain and internal organs.”

Read the entire Williamsport Sun-Gazette April 23rd article here.

Read Alternet’s April 12th article “‘They Are Afraid Their House Could Blow Up’: Meet the Families Whose Lives Have Been Ruined by Gas Drilling“;  Nina Berman’s story about Carl Stiles and others living near the Susquehanna River who also had high barium in blood tests and severe medical symptoms identified by a toxicologist as being caused by gas drilling.


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