(Published in print: Tuesday, October 13, 2015)
NORTHFIELD — Northfield Pipeline Awareness will present a talk on the health effects of gas pipeline compressor stations on Oct. 25 with Dr. Curtis Nordgaard.
The event will take place at the Northfield Trinitarian Congregational Church at 147 Main Street at 3 p.m.
Dr. Curtis Nordgaard is a resident pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center. He has an interest in environmental health, and in particular, climate change and asthma, two environmental health problems facing many of today’s children.
The proposal of natural gas projects in New England challenged him to explore their potential health impacts. He’s been particularly focused on the Spectra Pipeline expansion and the health impacts from compressor station emissions in affected communities in the eastern part of the state.
Northfield and Windsor, N.H., have been targeted for large compressor stations by Kinder Morgan subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s Northeast Energy Direct Project. Natural gas compressor stations burn methane and emit a mixture of volatile organic compounds. In general, these pollutants have been linked to heart disease, respiratory diseases, low birth weight and pre-term births.
There have been very few studies looking at local pollution and health complaints around compressor stations. The few that have been done suggest pollution levels are high enough to increase local health risks. Communities with compressor stations face multiple challenges of learning about the risks these compressor stations pose to local residents, deciding whether the risks are acceptable and determining what can be done to address them.
The talk will address what data are known about how air pollutants are distributed from compressor stations, what kinds of pollutants are released, what the health consequences are for local residents where these facilities are located, and what communities facing natural gas infrastructure development can do to prepare themselves.
There will also be discussion on how residents can get involved at the local level, and information will be available from the Northfield Pipeline Awareness group.
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