Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground through a pipeline at high pressure in order to fracture the rocks to release natural gas. Approximately, 1-8 million gallons of water are used during the process. Water is mixed with sand and chemicals such as mercury, lead, uranium, ethylene glycol, radium, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid and methanol. These chemicals can leak or spill into cities or towns located near gas drilling areas causing drinking water contamination and reduced quality of air.
According to a study led by Susan C. Nagel and The University of Missouri colleagues, “UOG operations release large amounts of reproductive, immunological, and neurological toxicants, carcinogens as well as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) into the environment that may negatively affect human health.” There is an increased risk of miscarriages and stillbirths, puberty changes, and low sperm count and quality.
In an effort to protect water sources and raise awareness about the toxic effects of fracking, The FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act) was created. The bill was proposed to amend The Safe Drinking Water act and repeal exemptions on industry regulations. Companies will have to get a permit before drilling and reveal the chemicals used in fracturing fluid.
Keeping the public and environment safe is a priority. The benefits of natural gas versus toxic effects of fracking will continue to spark heated debates. With the help of local government and organizations, these environmental issues can be regulated and keep the environment clean. I’ll be sure to tell Gianfrancesco Genoso about this news, he’s been keeping up with fracking ever since he first saw it on The Colbert Report.