Blog #667 Fracking IV

Fracking IV

Here is an article from Forbes Magazine that says Fracking is dangerous to your health.

Let’s see …

“Respiratory problems:

Cough, shortness of breath and wheezing are the most common complaints of residents living near fracked wells. Toxic gases like benzene are released from the rock by fracking. Similarly, a toxic waste brew of water and chemicals is often stored in open pits, releasing volatile organic compounds into the air. These noxious chemicals and particulates are also released by the diesel powered pumps used to inject the water.”

“Problems during pregnancy:

“Fracking chemicals are harmful to pregnant women and their developing babies. West Virginia researchers found endocrine-disrupting chemicals in surface waters near wastewater disposal sites; these types of chemicals can hurt the developing fetus even when present at very low concentrations.

“Another Hopkins/Geisinger study looked at records of almost 11,000 women with newborns who lived near fracking sites and found a 40% increased chance of having a premature baby and a 30% risk of having the pregnancy be classified as “high-risk,” though they controlled for socioeconomic status and other risk factors. Contributing factors likely include air and water pollution, stress from the noise and traffic (1,000 tankers/well on average).”

“Noise, stress and sleep deprivation

“Other studies have found that the noise from the drilling itself, the gas compressors, other heavy equipment and the truck traffic is high enough to disturb sleep, cause stress and increase high blood pressure. Longer-term exposure to noise pollution contributes to endocrine abnormalities and diabetes, heart disease, stress and depression, and has been linked to learning difficulties in children. Sleep deprivation has pervasive public health consequences, from causing accidents to chronic diseases.”

“Spills and accidents

“A newly released study found 6,648 spills in just four states over the past 10 years. Once again, the EPA had reported a far lower number—457 in eight states over a six-year period. Why the huge difference? Because the EPA chose to only look at the actual fracturing stage, rather than the whole life cycle of the gas and oil production.”

So, a brief three day look at fracking.  Energy companies say it is okay; others say not it is not okay.

There are real trade-offs here.  We need oil and gas for energy in our country (and around the world.  We also need honesty in reporting and analysis of data. Protection of human beings is important – but is fracking worse or better than lung cancer deaths from tobacco?  Is fracking worse or better than obesity and diabetes? Is fracking worse or better than alcohol deaths from driving while intoxicated accidents or the social problem of alcoholism and abuse within families.

I am glad I am not a legislator having to decide to have fracking.  Does the end result of reasonable (almost cheap) energy balance the risks?  It is hard to tell.

New topic tomorrow!!!


Posted by Bruce White

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