Environmental Protection

Fracking Chemicals may be Making our Drinking Water Unsafe

Are Fracking Chemicals Making our Drinking Water Unsafe?

Today, many scientists say fracking isn’t hazardous to our drinking water. Layers of rock can keep fracking fluid tucked away from our water supply close to a mile away, according to some scientists’ theories.

But a new study examining the safety of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale found that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could move closer to our drinking water supply than scientists may have thought.  Check out the study, mentioned in an article on Business Insider, here.

The researchers in the study found that “natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus, worsened by the effects of fracking, could allow chemicals to get to the surface in as little as a few years from now.”

"Simply put, [the rock layers] are not impermeable,” said Tom Myers, author of the study and an independent hydrogeologist.

This isn’t the first time fracking has caused concerns about whether it can get into our drinking water.

A U.S. News opinion article, however, calls the case against fracking “anecdotal and overstated,” stating that there haven’t been any cases where fracking chemicals have entered our water supply. Read the article here

But several other news sources disagree, arguing that fracking chemicals have, in fact, been found in drinking water.

In one instance, the Environmental Protection Agency conducted an investigation in 2011 to determine whether Encana drilling company’s fracking process contaminated water in Pavillion, Wash. The EPA found that the water contained “synthetic chemicals, like glycols and alcohols consistent with gas production and hydraulic fracturing fluids, benzene concentrations well above the Safe Drinking Water Act standards for high methane levels.” Read the story here.

So what happens when fracking chemicals seep into our water supply?

One website said fracking chemicals are “linked to bone, liver and breast cancers, gastrointestinal, circulatory, respiratory, developmental as well as brain and nervous system disorders. Such chemicals are present in frack waste and may find their way into drinking water and air.”

But how do we know the true dangers? How do we know what fracking can really do to our water supply is, how dangerous the chemicals are, and who we can trust to keep our drinking water safe?


Please let us know what sites you visit to learn more about fracking.

Posted by Ariel Brouillard on May 04, 2012 at 12:43 PM


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