MDN In-depth: Bradford County, PA Mother Claims Barium Poisoning from Nearby Gas Drilling Activity

The following happened at an anti-gas drilling rally in Harrisburg, PA on Tuesday:

A boisterous anti-gas drilling rally turned quiet Tuesday as Bradford County resident Crystal Stroud described how her family’s health has suffered this spring following the discovery that their water well was contaminated with toxic substances.

Speaking in a soft voice, Stroud, a 29-year-old wife and mother from Granville Summit, said tests by a commercial water analysis firm show the well has been contaminated with barium, strontium and radon. She experienced barium poisoning as a result with classic symptoms of heart palpitations, hair falling out and shortness of breath, she added. Her 4-year-old son has high barium levels too.

Stroud places the responsibility for the well contamination on nearby drilling activities by Chief Oil & Gas Co. The driller has disputed her claim, saying none of the elements she cited were used in drilling a nearby well, which had not been hydraulically fractured.

Stroud criticized the state Department of Environmental Protection and Health Department for inaction after being alerted about the contamination problem. "It sickens me that nothing is being done," she told a crowd of several hundred in the Capitol Rotunda. "Every day, I struggle with the fact we cannot trust our government to protect the people."*

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