The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday that it will expand its network of systems monitoring fine airborne particulates in Marcellus Shale production areas.

DEP said it would add 10 monitoring sites to its existing network of 27, positioning the metering stations near shale-gas wells and compressor stations in Marcellus Shale production areas.

"We need that data and monitoring capability to help us understand whether or not there are risks or impacts to public health from current air quality in these areas," said DEP Secretary John Quigley.

The cost for the installation and operation of the sites for five years is about $1.56 million, which would be partly covered by a federal grant.

The accumulated effects of breathing fine particulate pollution can affect affect young children, the elderly, and those with respiratory afflictions, including asthma, emphysema and bronchitis.

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