Fracking is Carinogenic

SUBHEAD: Congressional report details carcinogens in fracking fluids, used to release natural gas, making their way to water wells.  

By AP Staff on 16 April 2011 in Huffington Post -

Image above: Overspray of drilling slurry at hydro-fracking drill site. This by-product from mining operations includes rock debris, drill bit lubricants and possibly residual radioactive material. The overspray at the top is a violation and a danger to any bodies of water downhill. Dimock, Pennsylvania. From (

Millions of gallons of potentially hazardous chemicals and known carcinogens were injected into wells by leading oil and gas service companies from 2005-2009, a report by three House Democrats said Saturday.

The report said 29 of the chemicals injected were known-or-suspected human carcinogens. They either were regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act as risks to human health or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act.

Methanol was the most widely used chemical. The substance is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The report was issued by Reps. Henry Waxman of California, Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Diana DeGette of Colorado.

The chemicals are injected during hydraulic fracturing, a process used in combination with horizontal drilling to allow access to natural gas reserves previously considered uneconomical.

The growing use of hydraulic fracturing has allowed natural gas production in the United States to reach levels not achieved since the early 1970s.

However, the process requires large quantities of water and fluids, injected underground at high volumes and pressure. The composition of these fluids ranges from a simple mixture of water and sand to more complex mixtures with chemical additives.

The report said that from 2005-2009, the following states had at least 100,000 gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluids containing a carcinogen: Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wyoming, North Dakota, New Mexico, Montana and Utah.

States with 100,000 gallons or more of fluids containing a regulated chemical under the Safe Drinking Water Act were: Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma, Mississippi and North Dakota.
The report said many chemical components were listed as "proprietary" or "trade secret."
"Hydraulic fracturing has opened access to vast domestic reserves of natural gas that could provide an important stepping stone to a clean energy future," the report said.

"Yet, questions about the safety of hydraulic fracturing persist, which are compounded by the secrecy surrounding the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids. This analysis is the most comprehensive national assessment to date of the types and volumes of chemical used in the hydraulic fracturing process."

The investigation of chemicals used in fracturing was started in the last Congress by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which then was controlled by Democrats. The committee asked the 14 leading oil and gas service companies to disclose the types and volumes of the hydraulic fracturing products they used between 2005 and 2009 and the chemical contents of those products.

Video above: "Gasland" ducumentary trailer ( From (
[IB Editor's note: Although I live on Kauai, this issue hits close to home. Iam connected to a 100 acre farm in western New York that was next to my great-grandfathers farm and became my grandmother's and then my mother's. The area has been in an economic slump sine the Great Depression. The dairy farms and truck gardens that fed Rust Belt cities are gone and the land has mostly gone back to woods. It's near Amish country and the Quaker State oil fields. There are still natural gas and oil wells still putting out some fossil fuels. An old gas well is about 1ooo feet from our old farmhouse. Now that area is the intended target of intense energy development using new more invasive technology. There are three water wells on our family property that are cold and crystal clear. We worry about fracking.]


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