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NETL, NIOSH to study air impacts of shale drilling

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NETL Director Anthony Cugini (left) and NIOSH Director John Howard sign a memorandum of understanding April 22 to research airborne emissions and air quality at natural gas drilling sites. NETL Director Anthony Cugini (left) and NIOSH Director John Howard sign a memorandum of understanding April 22 to research airborne emissions and air quality at natural gas drilling sites.
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Air quality at shale gas drilling sites is the subject of a new research collaboration between federal agencies focused on energy and on worker safety.

The Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health signed a memorandum of understanding on April 22.

Advancing Department of Energy needs, NETL's participation in the research supports development of modeling tools for predicting and measuring risks associated with production of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing and for analyzing greenhouse gas life-cycle emissions.

And on the NIOSH side, the research will help identify potential hazards for the workers in the shale gas industry and begin developing recommendations for control technologies.

The collaboration will allow for greater data sharing, coordination for access to drilling sites, hazard identification, and development of methodologies and technologies related to the control of emissions, according to a NIOSH media release.

The information gathered may result in the development of new engineering controls and recommendations for personal protective equipment for workers.

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory with offices in Pittsburgh, Morgantown and Albany, Ore.; NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths.