The recent natural gas boom has put hydraulic fracturing, an old practice now being utilized on a massive scale, in the hot seat. Fracking has been linked to a growing list of environmental hazards, not the least of which include earthquakes and poisoned water.
Those alarmed by the widespread adoption of fracking in recent years have tried desperately to expose the water-chemical cocktail that gas companies inject into the ground to access gas deposits. Unfortunately, the industry does not require disclosure of this fluid’s ingredients, even though it’s very likely to end up in the public water supply.
Up until now it’s been deny, deny, deny, but a recent industry report has exposed fracking for the deadly practice that it is.
While not all hydraulic fracturing operations or all chemicals used in the process are disclosed by the drilling industry, thanks to the lack of a uniform national disclosure law and exacerbated by the liberal use of “trade secret” exemptions, known cancer-causing substances such as naphthalene, benzyl chloride and formaldehyde were used in 34 percent of all fracks reported by industry to FracFocus.org.
Did you catch that? The use of carcinocens was voluntarily reported, by gas companies themselves, to a fracking-friendly website. That means no twisting of facts or empty accusations by environmentalists. This is straight from the horse’s mouth, if you will, and it’s BAD NEWS for communities across the country.
Further solidifying this dangerous use of cancer-causing chemicals, independent analysis of the SkyTruth Fracking Chemical Database by IT professional David Darling found that 9,310 individual fracking operations conducted between January 2011 and September 2012 disclosed the use of at least one known carcinogen.
Public health agencies are charged with regulating these substances and preventing the public’s exposure to them whenever possible, yet Big Gas is allowed to pump them into the Earth with reckless abandon. Sure, everyone from the EPA down claims to be “looking into” the potential hazards of fracking, meanwhile the gas companies are charging full steam ahead, using their financial and political clout to bully communities into submission.
It’s wrong, it’s dangerous and it’s time we did something about it.
Image via Thinkstock
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