Among the more than 1,000 chemicals found in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fluids, Yale School of Public Health researchers found many associated with reproductive and developmental health problems.
At the same time, the majority are undetermined in terms of toxicity due to a lack of information.
As well as updates and insights into PFAS and THM, we are also faced with what we call… “The Combining effect”
Unknown chemical A gets into the water. Unknown chemical B gets into the water. We welcome you to super unknown chemical C
The authors of the paper published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology research team emphasized that further exposure and epidemiological studies are urgently needed to evaluate potential human health risks associated with fracking fluids and wastewater chemicals.
The Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology published a paper on January 6, 2016. Using a mixture of hydraulic-fracturing fluids containing hundreds of chemicals, the research team evaluated the data on 1,021 chemicals used in fracking. This process recovers oil and natural gas from deep within the ground. Researchers note that the process generates significant amounts of wastewater and fractures the bedrock, potentially posing a threat to surface and underground water resources. Even though they lacked definitive information about the toxicity of most chemicals, the team members analysed 240 substances. They concluded that 157 of them — chemicals like arsenic, benzene, cadmium, lead, formaldehyde, chlorine, and mercury — were toxic to the reproductive or developmental systems. According to the scientists, 67 chemicals are of particular concern because they have a federal health standard or guideline, but data on whether levels exceed the guidelines are too limited for assessment. This study is a first step in prioritizing potential environmental contaminants from hydraulic fracturing for future exposure and health studies, according to Nicole Deziel, the senior author. To understand hydraulic fracturing's public health impact, quantifying the potential exposure to these chemicals is imperative. Previous studies have found associations between proximity to hydraulic fracturing sites and reproductive and developmental problems but did not examine specific chemicals. Scientists note that this latest evaluation can help guide future studies by highlighting which chemicals may have the most significant health impact. It is expected that fracking will continue to grow due to the dramatic increase in recent years. In this process, a high-pressure mixture of water, sand, and chemicals are injected into the earth - as deep as two miles - to fracture the rock and release the trapped gas.
As a result of fracking, domestic natural gas production has increased, and prices have fallen. Critics of fracking, however, point out that the practice has the potential to contaminate drinking water supplies with toxic chemicals, resulting in significant public health consequences. There are also concerns regarding air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and small earth tremors associated with drilling and waste disposal. As early indicators of environmental hazards, reproductive and developmental toxicity was our focus. " We need to improve our understanding of the potential adverse effects of these compounds," said Elise Elliott, a doctoral student in public health.
According to the researchers, wastewater generated by fracking could be even more toxic than the fluids used. Accordingly, the researchers concluded that it was essential to study what goes into the well and the chemicals and by-products generated during fracking. To determine whether the 781 chemicals pose a health risk, the researchers noted that they need to be rigorously analysed. Deziel and Elliott were part of the research team, along with Yale School of Public Health Deputy Dean Brian Leaderer, Michael Bracken, Susan Dwight Bliss Professor of Epidemiology (chronic diseases), and Adrienne Ettinger, an assistant professor at the school at the time.