Science Pick: Is Fracking the New Tobacco? January 24, 2012Posted by Nancy Hepp in science pick.
Tags: Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, fracking, gas drilling, natural gas, precautionary principle, toxic chemicals
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Science & Environmental Health Network and
the CHE and SEHN Cumulative Impacts Project
The public health consequences of large-scale natural gas extraction by hydrofracturing are all but unstudied. Regulation and permitting has been left to the states because Congress has exempted the process from regulation under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. States have all but ignored public health consequences in permitting decisions. And given the protection of formulae for fracking fluids as confidential business information, gauging present and potential health effects is extremely challenging.
Nevertheless, two scientists, Michelle Bamberger and Robert E. Oswald, have issued a preliminary study of what scientists might learn if they could conduct thorough analyses of the health impact of fracking. Their study, Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health, was published in New Solutions, Vol. 22(1) 51-77, 2012 and may be accessed on the Cumulative Impacts Project website.