C.E.H. Report –Toxic & Dirty Secrets: The Truth about Fracking and Your Family’s Health

by Duane Nichols on July 2, 2013

CEH Report: Toxic & Dirty Secrets

Report of the Center for Environmental Health.  www.ceh.org

All around the country people are finding that hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is dangerous, destructive, and harmful to human health. Contaminated water and harmful air pollution are just a few of the all-too-real side effects associated with unconventional oil and natural gas development.

Pregnant women, mothers, and their babies are
at particular risk from toxic chemical exposures that can lead to infertility, miscarriage, impaired learning and intellectual development, birth defects, respiratory problems, heart disease, and cancer.

Our political leaders must make science and health research an integral part of the develop- ment of efficient, cleaner and safer energy resources and practices. American families should not have to sacrifice their air, land, drinking water, or health for the benefit of the natural gas industry and the toxic and dirty secrets it is fighting to hide from public view.

Toxic & Dirty Secrets: The Truth about Fracking and Your Family’s Health

C.E.H. Report — Executive Summary

The chemicals used in the extraction, processing, distribution, transport, and waste disposal of tight oil and shale gas from shale reservoirs can pollute surrounding air and water. One particular phase in the tight oil and shale gas life cycle is known as high-volume horizontal fracturing (fracking). In this process, high volumes of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped under pressure into gas wells to fracture subterranean shale and force natural gas to the surface for capture and distribution.

 Since fracking enables the process of tight oil and shale gas development, this paper discusses all of the impacts that can affect mothers and their children — from well construction to extraction, operations, transportation, and distribution.

This paper focuses on three ways in which fracking affects the health of mothers, children, and their communities:
exposure to toxic fracking chemicals and byproducts of the fracking process via air pollution;

exposure to toxic fracking chemicals and byproducts of the fracking process via water contamination; and

social stressors associated with the heavy industrial activities that accompany tight oil and shale gas development.

Fracking exposes children and mothers to chemicals and substances such as methane, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes), arsenic, radium, ozone, formaldehyde, radon, nitrogen oxides, methylene chloride, and silica sand.These substances are associated with low birth weight, birth defects, respiratory problems, cancer, and fertility problems.

See also the article at EcoWatch.org

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Emerson Hampton July 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Within the United States, the oil and natural gas industry typically refers to tight oil production rather than shale oil production, because it is a more encompassing and accurate term with respect to the geologic formations producing oil at any particular well. EIA has adopted this convention, and develops estimates of tight oil production and resources in the United States that include, but are not limited to, production from shale formations. The ARI assessment of shale formations presented in this report, however, looks exclusively at shale resources and does not consider other types of tight formations.


Ruby Cyrus March 12, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I am really concerned about living in the same area where drilling and fracking are underway. I see the diesel trucks with their loads of frack sand and chemical tanks. It’s like an invasion.

There is no one monitoring our area just to see what is in the air. I can smell fumes. And, I can see the clouds of sand and other vapors around the well pads.

No one comes round and tells me what is going on. Our neighborhood is under occupation. When did the oil and gas industry take control of our lives? They have pulled it off. I better get a gas mask as this seems to get worse every week!


Candy Sweeney April 1, 2014 at 3:45 pm

I don’t care how many times they say it is safe, the truth is there is great danger in every aspect of drilling, fracking, and producing all that gas under pressure.

Imagine working in the elements of the weather, using equipment so heavy it requires huge diesel engines, with explosive gases and toxic chemicals.

The work schedules involve long hours and multiple days. And, it would appear that most of these guys are from out of state.

How great the stresses must be?


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