12,200 Asthma Attacks in Philadelphia Caused by Oil & Gas Pollution

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

­­Philadelphia- Today, a new report and threat map released by the Clean Air Task Force and Earthworks as part of a coalition supported by Clean Water Action, shows that emissions from oil and gas operations cause ozone smog that result in 12,200 asthma attacks in Philadelphia children each year, especially during the warm summer months. These attacks also lead to 8,890 days of missed school 26,294 restricted activity days. The analysis is based on 2025 emissions projections from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Emissions Inventory.

“This analysis puts a chilling human perspective on the pressing problem that emissions from oil and gas operations pose to our public health and most vulnerable populations,” said Steve Hvozdovich, Pennsylvania Campaigns Director, Clean Water Action.

Nationally, more than 750,000 asthma attacks in children, more than 500,000 days of school missed, nearly 2,000 asthma-related emergency room visits, over 600 respiratory-related hospital admissions, and over 1.5 million restricted activity days are attributable to ozone smog during the warm summer months resulting from oil and gas pollution.

In addition to data on asthma attacks and other health impacts associated with ozone pollution caused by oil and gas, the threat map displays data about the populations living within a half-mile “threat zone” radius from oil and gas development, where residents have a cause for concern about potential health impacts, and the counties with cancer and respiratory health risk above EPA’s level of concern. Users can also enter their own address to see local data on asthma impacts and if they live in the threat zone or a county with elevated risks from oil and gas.

“A status quo approach to this issue is unacceptable and will continue to place our children in danger,” continued Mr. Hvozdovich. “The swift advancement of safeguards at the state and federal level are urgently needed to better protect the public from air pollution from oil and gas facilities.”

The Obama administration recently finalized national standards for new sources of methane and ozone smog-forming volatile organic compounds pollution from the oil and gas industry and is pursuing standards for existing sources of methane as well. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf introduced a similar frame work earlier this year to address methane emissions from new and existing sources. A roll out of his formal proposal is expected this fall.

To access the map, visit this page.


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table.

Michael Kelly