Health Impacts of Oil/Gas Drilling

A well site next to Silver Creek elementary school in Thorton, Colo. Photo credit: Ted Wood/The Story Group

A well site next to Silver Creek elementary school in Thorton, Colo.
Photo credit: Ted Wood/The Story Group

Drilling’s Health Impacts (start time: 7:50): A pressing question on the minds of many Colorado residents, health experts, and others amidst a surge of oil and gas activity is this: Does living near an oil and gas well harm your health? A scientist at the forefront of exploring such questions is Dr. Lisa McKenzie, a professor of environmental epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz. She is the lead author on a recently published study that examines the potential impact of nearby oil and gas drilling on childhood cancer rates. The study’s important findings were challenged by the state Health Department, whose recent assessment concludes that nearby oil and gas operations poses minimal risk to residents. Dr. McKenzie  talks with How On Earth’s Susan Moran about her study, and the complex science of risk, correlation and causation.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show:


Natural Gas Boom//BP Oil Spill’s Human Toll

We discuss the environmental and human costs of natural gas drilling practices, and then the human toll of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico one year after the disaster.

On natural gas drilling practices, Susan Moran interviews Steve Torbit, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Rocky Mountain Center; and Steven Hall, communications director for the Colorado Bureau of Land Management.

Ted Burnham interviews Liesel Ritchie, assistant director for research at the Natural Hazards Center, about the BP oil disaster’s social costs. Click here for details of the study.

Producer: Tom McKinnon
: Tom McKinnon and Susan Moran
Engineer: Ted Burnham
Headlines: Breanna Draxler


Support KGNU

How On Earth is produced by a small group of volunteers at the studios of KGNU, an independent community radio station in the Boulder-Denver metro area. KGNU is supported by the generosity and efforts of community members like you. Visit to learn more.


Subscribe via iTunes
How On Earth episodes can be downloaded as podcasts via iTunes, or streamed to a mobile device via Stitcher or Science360 Radio.
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Science360 Radio
For more info about podcasting, and more subscription options, visit our Podcast page.