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Chiang-Waren writes: "Frackers have used billions of pounds of cancer-causing chemicals in at least 137,000 wells from 2005 to 2015."

Fracking drilling operation. (photo: Shutterstock)
Fracking drilling operation. (photo: Shutterstock)

Fracking Wells Released Over 5 Billion Pounds of Methane in One Year

By Xian Chiang-Waren, Grist

15 April 16


eing in close proximity to fracking operations could screw up your sexual health, cause developmental defects and cancerinduce seismic activity around you, and the list goes on.

Does all that doom and gloom seem, well, a little vague? An Environment America report released Thursday offers raw numbers, based on a set of industry-reported data going back for more than decade.

Frackers, the report concludes, have used billions of pounds of cancer-causing chemicals in at least 137,000 wells from 2005 to 2015, including:

• 5 billion pounds of hydrochloric acid, a caustic acid

• 1.2 billion pounds of petroleum distillates, which can irritate the throat, lungs and eyes; cause dizziness and nausea; and can include toxic and cancer-causing agents

• 445 million pounds of methanol, which is suspected of causing birth defects

Remember, that’s according to the industry’s own numbers. Not necessarily all of this is affecting drinking water, but some chemicals have made their way into private wells. For example, Pennsylvania officials found 260 instances of private well contamination from fracking in the past decade — a “severe” underestimation, says Environment America.

The report also put a number on the quantity of methane (a greenhouse gas that’s by some estimates 86 times more potent than carbon over a 20-year timeframe) that new fracking wells released into the atmosphere in 2014:  5.3 billion pounds. That, the researchers note, is equivalent to the emissions from 22 new coal-fired plants. your social media marketing partner


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+6 # fletch1165 2016-04-16 03:36
This is Hillary Clinton's legacy. I blame all of her supporters and GOP partners. When children get cancer I think of you.
-12 # 2016-04-16 07:04
Contamination of drinking water, in the few places it has occurred (remember there are tens of thousands of fracking wells operating in the US) has never been caused by fracking. It has been caused by leaks and spills from trucks, pipelines, or wastewater storage areas.

But even if you count the environmental and health damage from these ancillary activities in the fracking column, you still can't find many, if any, fatalities or substantive objective damage either to people or the environment. When one looks at alternatives such as solar, one must consider the many mine fatalities and the much more serious environmental damage done by solar's ancillary activities.

Instead of throwing mud at fracking's relatively benign health and environmental impacts, it would be useful to propose an alternative and then do an objective comparison to see which energy source provides the least damage to humanity and the world.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
-10 # brycenuc 2016-04-16 08:05
The American public has been mislead about the temperature effect of methane. It has been claimed to have 30 times the greenhouse effect of CO2. It actually has less of a greenhouse effect than CO2 because it absorbs at the tail end of the earth's IR radiation spectrum where there is very little radiation to being with and it completes with water vapor at that spectral location. Couple that with the fact that there is more than 200 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere and methane becomes insignificant as a greenhouse gas. Another false scare tactic from the global warming alarmists.

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