New studies indicate that fracking (hydraulic fracturing for gas and oil) is connected to multiple human health risks like asthma, cancer, birth defects, and cardiovascular disease.
A new compendium of research by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York concluded that fracking has serious effects on health.
One key issue is that two billion gallons of water a day are being forced into hundreds of thousands of disposal wells that yield toxic fracking waste, which is contaminating groundwater across the United States, according to Inside Climate News.
“Studies from across the United States provide irrefutable evidence that groundwater contamination has occurred as a result of fracking activities and is more likely to occur close to well pads,” the compendium says.
Why is this important?
For example, researchers found that children who live near fracking sites in Pennsylvania have higher rates of leukemia than children who don’t live near fracking sites, as an ICN article summarizes. Kids who live within one mile of natural gas production sites are also seven times more likely to develop lymphoma, as another ICN article notes.
In addition to posing massive risks to health, fracking also uses valuable water that would ordinarily be reserved for agriculture and communities, and it also has adverse environmental effects because of pollution.
What’s being done about this?
The compendium ultimately calls for a total ban on fracking.
“The vast body of scientific studies now published on hydraulic fracturing in the peer-reviewed scientific literature confirms that the public health and climate risks from fracking are real and the range of environmental harms wide,” the compendium says. “The only method of mitigating its grave threats to public health and the climate is a complete and comprehensive ban on fracking. Indeed, a fracking phase-out is a requirement of any meaningful plan to prevent catastrophic climate change.”
Since the ultimate allowance of fracking will be determined by politicians who have the power to ban the practice, concerned citizens may wish to contact their representatives to voice their support for increased fracking regulations, and perhaps even a ban on the practice altogether.
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