FRACKING CHEMICALS

US Congress legislation in 2005 exempted fracking companies from the regulatory supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under its the Safe Drinking Water Act. No other industry in is allowed to inject known hazardous materials near underground drinking water supplies. During Dick Cheney’s term as vice president he lobbied the EPA to give a thumbs up to a major expansion of shale gas drilling. His former company, Halliburton, is a major producer of chemical fracking fluids. In 2004, the EPA issued a study of the environmental effects of fracking. Following a whistleblowers sceptism of this study, the Oil and Gas Accountability Project conducted a review which found that EPA removed information from earlier drafts suggesting ‘fracturing fluids may pose a threat to drinking water long after drilling operations are completed’.

The Obama Administration and the Energy Department formed an advisory commission on fracking, headed by former CIA director John Deuss, a board member of both Citigroup (a bank that funds fracking companies) and Halliburton. Of the seven commission members, six had ties to the energy industry. Their report in 2011, not unsurprisingly, called shale gas, ‘the best piece of news about energy in the last 50 years’.

Shale needs to be fracked using a mixture of hot water, sand, and poisonous chemicals, the composition of which fracking companies claim to be proprietary secrets, and disclosing them would make them less competitive. However, scientists who have analyzed fracking fluid discovered the following substances common to diesel fuel: Benzene, Ethylbenzene, Toluene, Xylene, Naphthalene, Methanol, Formaldehyde, Ethylene glycol, Glycol ethers, Hydrochloric acid, Sodium hydroxide. Most fracking companies surveyed by a 2010 Congressional Committee admitted that diesel fuel is part of their fracking mixture. Where diesel fuel was not used, chemical mixtures includes high levels of benzene, a tiny amount of which can poison millions of gallons of water.

Theo Colburn, PhD, director of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Colorado, identified 65 chemicals that are probably used in fracking fluids. These included benzene, glycol-ethers, toluene, and ethanol, all of which have been linked to health problems when human exposure is too high. In 2012, ShaleTest visited many fracking sites in North Texas, monitoring ambient air using stainless steel summa canisters. Results showed the presence of the known carcinogen benzene. “It is unacceptable that the natural gas industries are ignoring the devastating impacts they have on citizens and the environment”, commented Susan Sullivan, board member of ShaleTest.

Another study in 2012, led by Lisa McKenzie, Ph.D., MPH, of the Colorado School of Public Health, concluded that air pollution caused by fracking may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites. The study, based on three years of monitoring, found benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene in the air around the frack sites. Other chemicals included heptane, octane and diethylbenzene ‘The greatest health impact corresponds to the relatively short-term, but high emission, well completion period’. The study said that this was due to exposure to trimethylbenzenes, aliaphatic hydrocarbons, and xylenes, all of which have neurological and/or respiratory effects, including eye irritation, headaches, sore throat, and difficulty in breathing. … ‘We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells as compared to those residing further’, the report said. ‘Benzene is the major contributor to lifetime excess cancer risk from both scenarios’.

Benzene is a petroleum-based product found in gasoline, diesel fuel, industrial solvents, and paint. Long-term exposure can lead to acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), which is a cancer of the blood-forming organs.

In 2011, a U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce report entitled ‘Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing’ revealed the 14 most common ‘known, probable or possible’ carcinogenic substances found in fracking fluid between 2005-09: ‘Diesel: Heavy oil used to fuel diesel engines. Ingestion can cause loss of vision, coma, confusion, blood in stool, vomiting of blood, difficulty breathing and collapse. Naphthalene: Found in plastics, toilet deodorizers and mothballs. Can cause abdominal pain, nausea, low urine output, low blood pressure and increased heart rate. Formaldehyde: Found in building materials and numerous household products. Can cause burning sensation in eyes and throat, nausea, difficulty breathing and asthma attacks. Sulfuric acid: Corrosive chemical found in car batteries, some detergents, toilet cleaners and fertilizers. Can cause burns in mouth and throat, throat swelling, speech problems, vision loss. Thiourea: Used in photo developing, photocopying, making of synthetic resins and dye removal. Can cause collapsing, loss of vision, burns, low blood pressure, severe pain in throat and mouth. Benzyl Chloride: A chemical intermediate used to make certain dyes. Can cause burns, irritation to eyes, nose, throat, headache, ataxia and confusion. Nitrilotriacetic acid: Used primarily as a metal ion chelating agent and as a laundry detergent builder. Can cause irritation of eyes, skin, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal pain, seizures, muscle twitching, drowsiness, coma and cardiovascular collapse. Benzene: A petroleum-based chemical found in gasoline, diesel fuel, industrial solvents, paint, lacquer and varnish. Can cause rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing, nausea, vomiting and convulsions. Long-term exposure can lead to acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), which is a cancer of the blood-forming organs. Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate: Used as a plasticizer in PVC and other polymers, including rubber, cellulose and styrene. Long-term exposure can cause cancer, liver and reproductive problems. Acrylamide: Widely used in the manufacture of papers, dyes and other industrial products. Can cause abdominal pain, weakness, drowsiness, seizures, tremors and cardiovascular collapse. Acetaldehyde: Used in the production of plastics, mirrors, varnish, disinfectants and other products. Can cause low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, bronchitis, fluid in lungs. Ethylene oxide: Used as a sterilant for health care materials and in the manufacture of detergents, plasticizers and cosmetics. Can cause dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, seizures. Lead: Naturally occurring metal once common in paint and gasoline. Can cause infertility, muscle and joint pain, nervous disorders in adults, anemia, muscle weakness and brain damage in children. Propylene oxide: Used in the production of polyurethane foams. Can cause eye and respiratory irritation, skin irritation and necrosis and mild depression of the central nervous system’.

A report in EcoWatch in 2013 stated, ‘Residents personally harmed by gas drilling and fracking held a press conference in front of the White House yesterday and delivered 250,000 petition signatures from concerned citizens across the U.S. to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy at EPA headquarters … The petitions demand that the U.S. EPA reopen investigations into fracking-related drinking water contamination in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming and provide residents with safe drinking water in the interim. …“The purpose of the EPA is to protect us all from these types of health and safety hazards,” said Shelly Perdue, of Parker County, TX. “The methane at my house is 18 times the explosive level. It’s time for President Obama and Gina McCarthy to stand up for our communities”. … More recently, the EPA abandoned its fracking study in Pavillion, WY, which found benzene … at 50 times the level that is considered safe. However, even with this evidence, the EPA handed its investigation over to the state of Wyoming, whose lead politicians have vocally supported fracking. Moreover, this research will be funded by EnCana, the very company whose drilling and fracking operations may have caused the groundwater contamination in question.’

You are lied to by omission. Potential problems with fracking in the UK are often confined to comments of ‘some minor earthquakes near Blackpool’. There is relatively little mention of the radioactive emitters Radon-222 and Polonium-210 being released from the shale strata, or the depleted uranium explosive devices that trigger enormously powerful jets of metal ‘drilling’ atoms that melt the rock.

In the same misleading way, the true dangers of fluoridation are kept hidden – https://lenin2u.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/water-fluoridation-human-rats-and-cockroaches/

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About leninnightingale

A nurse who for decades challenged the nursing establishment, echoing the voices of the silent many- the downtrodden nurses, students, care assistants, patients, and relatives that the 'system' overlooks. This site will present issues that many fear to engage in, prefering to believe what they are told by the Government's 'Ministry of Truth' (i.e. 'Lies').
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14 Responses to FRACKING CHEMICALS

  1. Pingback: Protecting the Public? | Pilant's Business Ethics Blog

  2. Carol Dimon says:

    This list of chemicals comes from a Congressional hearing (2010) where fracking companies were enforced to expose the fracking cocktail used but not the perecentages used- as this is protected by American patent law.

  3. Carol Dimon says:

    via Julie Wassmer facebook https://theferret.scot/glasgow-university-silencing-fracking-critic/ “David Smythe an emeritus professor of geophysics and a leading critic of the fracking industry, has had his university email address cancelled, and his access to scientific journals cut off.”

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