Researchers at the University Cincinnati College of Medicine and Oregon State University received funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to study air quality before, during and after unconventional natural gas drilling (UNGD), or fracking, activity.

The research is occurring in Carroll County, Ohio, which is experiencing UNGD. We are using air and personal passive samplers to sample 62 PAHs. Click here for the full list of PAHs analyzed.

Phase I: Air Sampling Event


(February 2014) In Phase I of the study, 5 Oregon State University (OSU) researchers traveled to Carroll County, OH and placed 25 passive air samplers on the properties of 23 volunteer community members. Some properties had wells that were producing natural gas, while others were used as background sites. After three weeks, trained community members returned the sampling material to OSU for analysis. 

In June 2014, the results from Phase I were sent to participating properties.

Research team (Center photograph, from left to right): Carey Donald, graduate student EMT; Diana Rohlman, PhD, CPHHS post doctoral scholar; Lane Tidwell, graduate student EMT; Blair Paulik, graduate student EMT; and Kevin Hobbie, CPHHS graduate student, faculty research assistant EMT.


The Times Reporter interviewed the research team during a sampling event

Watch these short videos to learn how the passive air samplers are set up


Phase II: Air and Personal Sampling Event

In May 2014, the OSU team returned to Carroll County for a second round of sampling at five properties. Phase II of the study involved both environmental and personal air samplers, as well as a preliminary test of a novel air sampling technology called the Exposure, Location and Lung Function (ELF) device.

Environmental Samplers

With the same passive air sampling technology used in Phase I, OSU researchers set up rings around current or future UNGD wells. The goal was to evaluate changes in air quality as distance from the well increased. After three weeks, trained community members removed the sampling material and returned it to OSU for analysis.

Wristband Personal Samplers

Staff from the University of Cincinnati gave passive wristband samplers to individuals living near the five sites to analyze personal exposures. These wristbands are low-cost, lightweight and unobtrusive, making them ideal for capturing each person’s individual chemical exposure. 23 people wore wristband samplers for three weeks before mailing them back to OSU for analysis.

Exposure, Location and Lung Function (ELF) device

This technology was first tested in 2013 in West Eugene, OR. The ELFcombines the wristband sampler with a spirometer and a smart phone to measure each participant's chemical exposure, respiratory function and location. In Ohio, two community members used it for one week and provided feedback and suggestions to improve usability. To learn more about the ELF, click here.


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