Oil and gas and your health

A fracking operation near homes in Colorado

 

Our goal is to provide Colorado residents with objective health science information and to evaluate the levels of air pollutants near oil and gas operations. The Toxicology and Environmental Epidemiology Office and the Air Pollution Control Division jointly operate the Oil and Gas Health Information and Response Program. Our program includes experts in oil and gas operations, air quality measurement, exposure assessment, toxicology, and health communication.

It is difficult to determine whether any individual symptom is related to oil and gas operations or has other causes. The effects of any oil and gas exposure you may experience depend on many factors, including the types and amounts of chemicals released and personal factors that may increase your sensitivity. Measuring the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your blood cannot determine the cause of specific symptoms and is not recommended. Recording your symptoms over time and any odors you notice using this odor log can be helpful in identifying potential sources. 
 
If you are worried about a health symptom you are experiencing, please report your concern online or call us at 303-389-1687.

We are not medical professionals. See a health care provider, call 911, or seek emergency care for concerning symptoms, including:

  • Trouble breathing or chest pain.
  • Severe headache or vision changes.
  • Fever over 101 degrees that doesn’t come down with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
  • Severe stomach pain.
  • Other concerning symptoms that are getting worse, that don’t go away, or that get in the way of your regular activities.

We use several different methods to collect air quality measurements. These include our Colorado Air Monitoring Mobile Laboratory (CAMML) and canisters or sorbent tube samples. In other cases, we use small sensors to measure overall levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Small sensors for air quality monitoring are becoming more widely available, but they have some limitations

We compare the amounts of compounds we measure to Health Guideline Values (HGVs). HGVs are levels set by federal and state agencies. We focus on measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with oil and gas activities. You can review our measurements and assessments from communities we have investigated on our community investigations page.

Oil and gas operations are mainly regulated at the state level.

Contact

Oil & Gas Health Information and Response Program 
4300 Cherry Creek Dr. S 
Denver, CO 80246 
303-389-1687 
cdphe_oghealth@state.co.us