Study Finds No Evidence That Fracking Can Operate Without Threatening Public Health

Fracking is not only a threat to the environment, it’s a threat to public health, and we now have independent peer-reviewed studies to prove it.

Hydraulic fracking is the process by which oil and gas companies use chemicals to squeeze natural gas out of shale rocks underground. If you’ve ever seen videos of people being able to light their water on fire near fracking sites, that alone should tell you it’s a health hazard.

This is mostly due to methane leaking, and methane is not a gas we want to be breathing in.

In addition, fracking causes earthquake activity and poses a serious risk to water resources and wildlife, not to mention being a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.

In the past, there was not much data, aside from being able to light your water on fire, that the practice is a danger to public health. But a group of eight doctors and scientists compiled research into a compendium making it clear that there is no evidence whatsoever that fracking is a safe practice that can continue without threatening public health.

The Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York wrote:

Across a wide range of parameters, from air and water pollution to radioactivity to social disruption to greenhouse gas emissions, the data continue to reveal a plethora of recurring problems and harms that cannot be sufficiently averted through regulatory frameworks. There is no evidence that fracking can operate without threatening public health directly and without imperiling climate stability upon which public health depends.

Ithaca College biologist and compendium co-author Dr. Sandra Steingraber explained that there is no longer any way that fracking companies can claim to be safe.

“There’s really definitive evidence now that methane leaks at every stage of the fracking process,” she said. “Methane is a source of air pollution that’s deadly — and that’s become clearer and clearer,”

“We know without a doubt that fracking is linked to earthquakes that occur over longer periods of time and wider geographic area than previously thought,” she continued. “That’s because these slippery chemicals that they’ve added to fracking fluid decrease friction while fracking, and they don’t lose that property when re-injected down into the earth with wastewater.”

And, of course, it affects low income communities the most.

“Whether it’s practiced in urban areas like Los Angeles where fracking infrastructure clearly targets poor nonwhite communities or in rural areas of Ohio and Pennsylvania where it’s targeted at poor whites — those patterns hold up over and over again,” she said.

In other words, fracking companies are killing low income communities so a rich fat cat somewhere in a mansion or penthouse can get richer than he already is.

For years, oil and gas executives have denied that their industry harms public health. They’ve been lying to us and now they have lawmakers in their pocket denying science so they can continue these harmful practices unchecked.

Americans should be outraged. No amount a gas should be worth sacrificing our health or our lives.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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