What is Hydrofracking?
To recover natural gas deposits in shale formations, including the Marcellus and Utica, the industry uses a process termed high volume hydraulic fracturing, which uses millions of gallons of water, laced with a cocktail of chemicals, to fracture shale and release gas.
Inherent Risks of Hydrofracking
Communities from Texas to Pennsylvania have been impacted by industrial fracking operations. Fracking activities operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week during production. Volumes of toxic, radioactive, and caustic liquid waste by-products pose storage, treatment, and disposal problems. Regular operations, as well as accidents, can adversely impact the environment and public health. Well casings that are intended to prevent methane and toxic liquids from contaminating groundwater are prone to failure. Studies have shown that 6-7% of well casings fail immediately, while 50% fail after 30 years!
Primary concerns include human and environmental exposure to:
The Health Impacts of Fracking
While the fracking boom began years ago in other parts of the country, scientific studies on the public health effects of fracking are just now being conducted and reported. Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health recently determined that air pollution from fracking, which includes known carcinogens, may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for those living near gas drilling sites. Other studies, including the US Environmental Protection Agency study on the impacts of fracking on drinking water, are ongoing.