Health and environmental impacts:
Here, in the United States, our goverment has promoted fracking without considering the health and environmental costs.
1. During a November 15, 2013 workshop at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, scientists and public health professionals considered the impacts.
The following is an excerpt from The Lancet (United Kingdom) article. See complete report with footnotes at:
“Scientific study of the health effects of fracking is in its infancy, but findings suggest that this form of extraction might increase health risks compared with conventional oil and gas wells because of the larger surface footprints of fracking sites; their close proximity to locations where people live, work, and play; and the need to transport and store large volumes of materials.
In the USA, where more than 52,000 shale gas wells have been drilled, data suggest that risks of environmental contamination occur at all stages in the development of shale gas extraction.
Failure of the structural integrity of the well cement and casing, surface spills and leakage from above-ground storage, emissions from gas-processing equipment, and the large numbers of heavy transport vehicles involved are the most important factors that contribute to environmental contamination and exposures in the USA.
Environmental exposures include outdoor air pollutants (ie, volatile organic compounds, tropospheric ozone, and diesel particulate matter) and pollutants (ie, benzene, hydrocarbons, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and heavy metals) in both ground and surface water.
Known occupational hazards include airborne silica exposure at the well pad. Toxicological data for the chemicals injected into wells (so-called frac fluid) indicate that many of them have known adverse effects on health, with no toxicological data available for some.
Assessment of potential risks has been difficult in the USA because drilling operators are not required to disclose which chemicals are used, but the UK Government has accepted the recommendation from the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering Working Group on shale gas extraction for full disclosure.
Exposure and epidemiological studies—of which there are currently very few—are needed along the entire supply chain of shale gas to characterise and quantify associated health issues. The socioeconomic implications of shale gas development on local communities before, during, and after extraction, and how risks should be communicated, are also important research priorities.
In addition to local health and environment threats, an important consideration is the contribution of shale gas extraction to greenhouse-gas emissions and, thus, to climate change. … evidence from the USA indicates that instead of replacing coal, shale gas has rapidly become an additional source of fossil fuel, leading to an increase in cumulative global greenhouse-gas emissions.
The degree to which shale gas extraction is developed should be based on comparisons with other energy options, including renewable energy sources, and greater investment in energy efficiency measures, taking full account of environmental, economic, and health implications…
However, key issues for health impact assessments are which comparators and timeframes to use, and which stages in the lifecycle of oil and gas development to include. For example, it might be important for health impact assessments to include the long-term implications of waste disposal, fugitive methane emissions, and other legacies with implications for human health, as opposed to analyses of only environmental and public health risks during active development…”
2. Natural gas drilling operations may result in elevated endocrine-disrupting chemical activity in surface and ground water:
3. A team led by Theo Colburn of the Endocrine Disruptor Exchange found that 25 percent of chemicals known to be used in fracking fluids are implicated in cancer, 37 percent could disrupt the endocrine system, and 40 to 50 percent could cause nervous, immune and cardiovascular system problems. The research team also found that more than 75 percent could affect the skin, eyes and respiratory system, resulting in various problems such as skin and eye irritation or flu-like symptoms. (September, 2011)
4. Compendium of scientific, medical and media findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking (June 2014; will be updated every six months):
5. Fracking radiation issues:
6. Residents near fracking poisoned in their sleep:
7. Limited regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act:
8. Fracking by the Numbers - Key Impacts of Dirty Drilling at the State and National Level
Excellent, information by state, quantitative & qualitative detailing of fracking harms:
9. Risks from Fracking Wastewater:
10. 80 year old Max Chilson, Bradford County PA. Water fine for generations before fracking started nearby, now he can’t use his water well, water is black, unsafe. No help from government or fracking companies - he is on his own to deal with this: