An Asbestos Warning on FrackingBy Charles Margulis
We all love innovative new technologies. We pine for the latest kitchen gadgets, drool over techy new cars, wait in long lines for the latest iThings.
But sometimes innovation comes with risk, with dangerous and even deadly unexpected consequences.
In a recent report, as noted by the London Guardian, the top science advisor to the British government warns that fracking may be like previous innovative technologies, such as asbestos and the deadly drug thalidomide, with the potential to wreak massive damage to our health and the environment, and leave a legacy of cleanup and legal costs that undermine business sustainability.
Early Warning Signs
The fracking industry is rapidly expanding, yet there have been few studies on the health impacts from this risky, new technology. Now, two recent papers co-written by CEH point to signs of harm from fracking, and especially from toxic chemicals associated with fracking operations. In the first, community volunteers near fracking sites took air samples to determine when fracking chemicals posed health threats in their communities. This five-state study found high levels of chemical air pollution from fracking, in some cases higher than government clean air standards.
Now, a new review published in the peer-reviewed journal Reviews on Environmental Health finds that chemicals from fracking may pose serious health risks, in particular to women and young children, including birth defects, infertility, miscarriage, impaired fetal growth, low birth weight, preterm birth, and premature or delayed sexual development, among other health problems.
Get Educated and Get Active
Whether you live in a community effected by fracking or not, the unimpeded growth of the oil and gas industry effects all of us. CEH recently held a webinar series on the maternal and health risks posed by fracking – the videos are available for viewing on the CEH website. You can also hear more about the climate impacts of fracking and renewable energy solutions on our recent podcast featuring Goldman Prize winner Helen Slottje, scientist Anthony Ingraffea, and clean energy expert Mark Jacobson.
You can take action to help stop fracking and push for healthier renewable energy solutions. Learn more with regular updates from CEH.Tags: chemicals, environment, fracking, health, infertility