Report: Oil and gas production killed 1300 Texans in 2016

Tarrant County had the most deaths in the state

Al Braden | Used by permission

An alarming new report by the Boston University School of Public Health found “air pollution in 2016 from the oil and gas sector in the US resulted in 410,000 asthma exacerbations, 2200 new cases of childhood asthma and 7500 excess deaths, with $77 billion in total health impacts.” Texas ranked first among the states for air pollution deaths, with 1314, and Tarrant County led the state among counties with 170 deaths (Harris had 111, Bexar 92, Dallas 89 and Travis 33).  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed cutting methane emissions from oil and gas production 87% by 2030 to help stop this heat-trapping pollutant from causing further damage to our climate. This study shows there will also likely be a “co-benefit” to public health from cutting methane. 

In addition to emitting methane, oil and natural gas drilling, flaring and venting, and processing release ozone, fine particulate matter, and nitrogen dioxide pollution, which increase the risk of “premature death, respiratory and cardiovascular hospitalizations, heart attack, asthma, and birth outcomes, among other health impacts.” Notably, this study does not even include the later stages of production, transportation, or consumer combustion; thus, the total number of deaths from oil and gas are likely much larger.

Gwendolyn Reed

Communications Intern

Caroline Gamble

Policy Intern


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