Posting in Cancer
A Cornell University researcher has linked wildlife illnesses and death to "hydrofracking" natural gas drilling activities. Public health could be affected too, he cautioned.
Drilling for natural gas by hydrofracturing, or "fracking," has proven potential to contaminate groundwater or even cause earthquakes. Now, a Cornell University professor has published a study concluding that the practice has been harmful to wildlife and might sicken people.
Prof. Robert Oswald's paper, titled, ""Impacts of Gas Drilling on Human and Animal Health," was published in the January issue of New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, where it will be peer-reviewed.
The research is meaningful, because wildlife is the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine' for human health, the researchers said. The most alarming case examined arsenic poisoning in a child, which the study attributed to shale grilling activities. The researchers cautioned, "Without rigorous scientific studies, the gas drilling boom sweeping the world will remain an uncontrolled health experiment on an enormous scale."
It also compared the hydrofracking industry's response to health claims to the tobacco's industry's denial that cancer causing carcinogens were in cigarettes and noted that most states do not even require energy companies to disclose what chemicals are being used in the process.
Natural gas is being eyed as a more economical substitute for crude oil, which has experienced price spikes in recent months. Government leaders - even President Obama -have called for expanded natural gas drilling.
The Environmental Protection Agency has uncovered a toxic brew that fouled an aquifer at one site in Wyoming, and hydrofracking companies admitted to pumping diesel fuel into the ground during the Bush years. Researchers at Duke University have also accused the industry of stonewalling with contamination data.
Oswald and his team examined 24 cases of sickened animals across six different states. Birds, cats, chickens, cows, deer, goats, horses, koi, and even llamas exhibited signs of reproductive problems. 17 cows died of unknown causes within an hour in one case in Louisiana.
Other symptoms were upper respiratory issues, burning of the eyes, nosebleeds, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, headaches and neurological problems, according to the Cornell Daily Sun's Bob Hackett.
"What I suspect is that if I follow these cases long enough I am going to start to see reproductive effects in people too," said Michelle Bamberger, a veterinarian independent of Cornell told the Sun. Oswald concluded that hydrofracking would be an unsafe practice until public health is taken into consideration. He suggested monitoring groundwater before and after drilling activities begin.
There is no doubt that natural gas drilling is necessary given America's hunger for energy. The U.S. has become the world's largest natural gas producer of dry natural gas, so it's also an import economic activity.
So is banking. Credit is necessary for economic development, and the consequences of banks run amuck effects all our lives. If the banks are regulated (for now), why aren't hydrofracking operations? There's no reason why the public should tolerate faulty concrete when the health consequences are so high. The industry should prove that it can drill safely; we shouldn't have to prove otherwise.
Related on SmartPlanet:
- EPA: hydrofracking may have tainted Wyoming groundwater
- Ohio: frackers caused earthquakes
- Fracking triggered British earthquakes
- Toxic fracking fluids revealed in Congressional report
- There’s no fracking way polluters won’t be bad actors
- Hydro-frackers to EPA: We used diesel - tough
- Controversial mining practice may return to the Empire state
- Scientist: gas industry is withholding hydro-fracking contamination data
- Marcellus shale fail - estimates of natural gas reserves were overstated
- Hydro-frackers to EPA - ‘tough, we used diesel’
Mar 14, 2012
New video released "The Sky is Pink" - 18 min by "Gasland" director Josh Fox. Also info on fracking abroad, and actor Alec Baldwin geting involved on anti-fracking committee and other updates as http://www.squidoo.com/hydrofracking-and-updates
Study of well contamination problems have found that faulty wells are causing most of the problem. It's not that the fluids are leaking from thousands of feet below the surface into the groundwater. It's that the cement seal between the bore and the pipe is faulty, creating a pathway for the fluids to travel up between the bore and the pipe and into the groundwater. Of course, the problem is potentially serious no matter how the fluids get into the groundwater. But if it's faulty wells rather than the basic process of injecting fluids thousands of feet underground, this means that fracing can be made safe. See a discussion at the Environmental Defense Fund website at http://blogs.edf.org/energyexchange/2012/02/16/if-the-problem-isnt-hydraulic-fracturing-then-what-is/ and at http://energy.utexas.edu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=145:early-results-from-hydraulic-fracturing-study-show-no-direct-link-to-groundwater-contamination&catid=34:press-releases&Itemid=54 .
It is amazing that no matter how many studies that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that fracking is exceedingly destructive to the earth and all who live here, the big money collected by two or three individual billionaires always trumps them all. Study after study, no matter what, big money forges on to enrich a tiny few individual people at the cost of millions of lives. In Pennsylvania, as of today, citizens no longer have the right to object to gas companies fracking on their private property, and doctors are now forbidden to mention that fracking chemicals have made people sick. And as far as wildlife goes, who cares? Money always wins. At all costs. And only for a few.
Fracking threatens the water supply of over 100 million Americans. It is a pending disaster that will make the recent Gulf spill look like a hiccup. It could ruin the ground water across large swaths of America - a disaster that would be permanent on a human scale. The frackers claim that their wells are much deeper than the aquifer, but all it takes is a problem with the casing going down into the well, or a problem with their catchment pond, their waste disposal methods, etc. for their poisons and natural gas to leach into the water table. They can't promise that it won't happen, and it's almost guaranteed that it will, over and over again, as it already has happened many times. What's unique about this article is the phrase "Government leaders - even President Obama..."! BHO is no friend of the environment. He may have campaigned as such in '08, but now we know better. He promotes off shore drilling, and we get the BP spill. He promotes nuclear, and then there's Fukashima. He should really take note of the handwriting on the wall! The sad truth is that Obama knows that whatever clown the GOP mounts against him in November will be even less a friend of the environment. He's counting on that to get reelected.
This why the area around a deep injection well in Colorado (12,000 plus feet deep) that was used to dispose of military waste in the 1960s is still monitored 30 years after the well was sealed and capped. The US Army admitted to disposing of only 165 million gallons of toxic waste through a well bored through multiple aquifers that run for hundreds of miles underground. Private estimates triple that amount. http://www.rma.army.mil/cleanup/facts/deep-wel.html To this day there are people living hundreds of miles away with polluted wells that blame the Rocky Mountain Arsenal site.