x
Print This Post

Fracking, shale gas and health: A case for precaution

By Barb Harris

Only a few months ago, fracking was a vague concept to me. That changed when I found out that the small rural community where I recently bought a home had been opened for exploration bids for onshore shale gas. I was drawn to Nova Scotia’s North Shore for its clean air, natural beauty and tranquility. As I began my crash course in shale gas development and fracking, I could scarcely believe the picture that emerged. All that I loved about this area would be destroyed if shale gas development took place. For the past decade I have focused on issues relating to less toxic living and environmental health. Now I wanted to find out how fracking might impact health.

There is little peer-reviewed research into the health impacts of fracking and shale gas development. However, there is significant evidence of health impacts in rural communities where drilling is taking place, mostly the U.S. Midwest and Pennsylvania. There are reports of contaminated wells, highly polluted air, patterns of similar human illnesses and sick or dying farm animals in communities where shale gas drilling and fracking is taking place. In addition, evidence is mounting of risk of contamination of drinking water sources for urban areas downstream from fracking sites. These risks, especially to water, but also to air, soil, health and rural environments, have made fracking a hot issue in the US, Canada, South Africa and Europe.

Hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, has been used for many decades; however, since the late 1990s it has a new face. The international outcry against fracking is focused on this new form of fracking, which is required to extract natural gas from non-porous layers of rock, either coal or shale. In order to profitably extract natural gas, known as “unconventional gas,” from these layers, new technologies are required. The first is the use of horizontal drilling. After drilling down to the shale layer, the drill is turned and continues horizontally for up to a mile. Second is the use of fracking fluids containing a mixture of water, sand, and highly toxic chemicals, known as slickwater. Third is the extremely high pressure with which the fluid is injected underground, pressure sufficient to create multiple fractures in, the hard shale layer in order to release the natural gas. Horizontal drilling, slickwater, and extremely high pressure are all relatively new fracking techniques, and make present day fracking significantly different from previous methods. These three techniques are also a major source of immediate and long-term risks, including health risks.

In addition, shale gas extraction is a high-density, heavy industry, with multiple wells and drill pads, which transform rural landscapes into industrialized zones. This heavy industry operates 24/7/365, with huge 18-wheel tankers transporting toxic wastewater and other compounds, condensate tanks emitting hazardous airborne VOCs, flaring gas wells, and evaporation pits holding volatile and water-soluble chemical-laden wastewater. In Pennsylvania, more than 3,000 gas fracking wells and permitted well sites are located within two miles of 320 day care centers, 67 schools and nine hospitals. (1) As one writer quipped, “This is not your grandfather’s gas well.” (2)

This scenario is normal operation, shale gas development “done properly.” Air pollution resulting from volatile chemicals released at all stages of the operations has immediate health impacts, and probable long term ones, including cancers and endocrine disruption. Volatile chemicals from fracking fluids, fracking wastewater held in open pits, and emissions from other components of the shale gas and fracking operation contribute to highly polluted air, smog and widespread health problems.

Until recently, the chemicals used in fracking have remained secret. This secrecy is one reason there is so little research on health impacts. Lack of information has also made it difficult for affected individuals to prove a connection between fracking and shale gas operations and illnesses or well contamination.

Much of the information available about the chemicals contained in fracking fluids comes from Dr. Theo Colborn of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX). Colborn and her team painstakingly pieced together a list of 956 chemicals contained in fracking fluids. (3) The list is not complete. For 43% of the products studied, less than 1% of ingredients were disclosed. (4) Of the 956 chemicals identified by CAS number, over 80% have respiratory effects, 50% have brain and nervous system effects, more than 25% are carcinogenic and mutagenic, and over 35% are endocrine disruptors. (5) The list includes both volatile and soluble chemicals. Among the hazardous chemicals found in the largest number of fracking products were the carcinogens 2BE (Ethylene glycol monobutyl ether) and naphthalene, and the reproductive toxins xylene and ethylene glycol. (6) Many of the chemicals have 10 or more adverse health effects.


CLICK TO ENLARGE

After residents of Dish, Texas began reporting a range of symptoms including nosebleeds, headaches, and dizziness, the company “investigated” and reported that everything was normal, that there were no emissions detectable to the human nose. The town spent 15% of its budget to hire Wolf Eagle Environmental, an independent laboratory, to conduct air quality tests. Test results found high levels of 15 chemicals, including benzene, xylene, naphthalene and carbon disulfide at five of seven test sites. In some cases the levels were 10 times the recommended level for short-term exposure, and some levels were high enough to be an immediate danger, according to the study. (8)

Wolf Eagle reported,

“Laboratory results confirmed the presence of multiple Recognized and Suspected Human Carcinogens in fugitive air emissions present on several locations tested in the Town of DISH. The compounds identified are commonly known to emanate from industrial processes directly related to the natural gas industrial processes of exploration, drilling, flaring and compression. … The Town of DISH has virtually no heavy industry other than the compression stations. There is no other facility with the capability to produce the volume of air toxins present within miles of the Town.” (9)

Similar symptoms have been reported in communities in other states where drilling and fracking for shale gas is taking place. “In 2009, Wyoming failed to meet federal air standards for the first time, in part because 27,000 gas wells, most of which were drilled within the previous five years, were emitting toluene and benzene.” (10)

Increases in respiratory problems and asthma are common in communities near drilling sites. A Texas hospital serving six counties near drilling sites reported asthma rates three times higher than the state average. (11) On March 9, 2011, the Associated Press (AP) reported that in rural Wyoming “residents are complaining of watery eyes, shortness of breath and bloody noses.” The cause: ozone levels higher than the worst days in Los Angeles all last year. AP reported that the region’s ozone levels the previous week had reached 124 parts per billion, two-thirds higher than the EPA’s maximum healthy limit of 75ppb. (12)

Colborn’s research shows that over 80% of fracking chemicals are respiratory toxins, many of which are volatile. Air pollution from fracking operations is not only localized. Smog pollution from drilling can travel up to 200 miles from the gas production area, causing widespread damage to human and environmental health. (13)

In addition to the health impacts from normal operations, health risks increase with the unexpected — accidents and deliberate violations — and shale gas drilling has plenty of them. Chemicals leaching into wells, fields and aquifers from drilling and fracking operations, accidental spills from evaporation pits or other operations, drill pad fires and blow outs, accidents involving trucks carrying toxic fracking fluids, and environmental violations. An ongoing investigation into fracking by ProPublica found court and government documentation of more than 1,000 cases of water contamination in Colorado, New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio and Pennsylvania. (14)

A major source of health risks comes from contamination of wells close to drill sites. Natural gas companies in many communities deny any connection between well contamination and drilling or fracking, but all too frequently wells in drilling areas become contaminated with methane, solids, and toxic chemicals. Chemicals which have been identified in privately tested wells have been found to be the same chemicals used in fracking fluids or substances released from the shale layer by fracking which return to the surface with fracking wastewater. These include arsenic, chromium, benzene, acetone, strontium, barium, lead and other chemicals with both carcinogenic and other toxic effects. (15)

Industry maintains that because only half of one percent of the fracking fluid is made up of these unidentified chemicals, the impact won’t be significant. However, half of one percent is still at least 500 gallons per frack of chemicals, some of which can be harmful in parts per million or parts per billion.

In Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective,Colborn explains,

“Numerous systems, most notably the endocrine system, are extremely sensitive to very low levels of chemicals, in parts-per-billion or less. The damage may not be evident at the time of exposure but can have unpredictable delayed, life-long effects on the individual or their offspring…Health impairment could remain hidden for decades and span generations. Specific outcomes could include reduced sperm production, infertility, hormone imbalances and other sex-related disorders. Further compounding this concern is the potential for the shared toxic action of these contaminants, especially those affecting the same and/or multiple organ systems.” (16)

Industry has emphatically argued that methane, a flammable gas that has appeared in many residential wells in drilling areas, could not possibly be caused by fracking. They argue that methane and other substances from the shale layer will be trapped there and will not migrate into drinking water. However a 2011 study (17) by scientists at Duke University documented that methane from the shale gas layer contaminated wells up to two miles from a drilling site. Drinking water wells close to drilling sites had levels of methane up to 17 times higher than wells farther away, and the methane in the wells was identified as methane from the shale layer. Although no chemicals were found in wells in this study, the fact that the shale level methane gas reached wells indicates that materials can – and do – travel between the shale layer and aquifers. Thus, it is possible that toxic chemicals from fracking fluids, which may move more slowly than gases, may also contaminate aquifers eventually.

The risks associated with fracking wastewater have caused the greatest outcry, as they impact not only people living in drilling areas, but also the drinking water sources of major urban centres. Fracking wastewater that returns to the surface is contaminated not only by the chemicals in the fracking fluids, but by additional toxins picked up from the shale layer. These hazardous substances include heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, benzene, highly corrosive salts, and radioactive materials including radium 226. At this point in time, none of the methods used to dispose of these millions of gallons of toxic wastewater have been studied for safety. (18)

From thousands of internal documents obtained through freedom of information requests, The New York Times revealed that fracking wastewater posed

“… dangers to the environment and health [that] are greater than previously understood. The documents reveal that the wastewater, which is sometimes hauled to sewage plants not designed to treat it and then discharged into rivers that supply drinking water, contains radioactivity at levels higher than previously known, and far higher than the level that federal regulators say is safe for these treatment plants to handle. Other documents and interviews show that many E.P.A. scientists are alarmed, warning that the drilling waste is a threat to drinking water in Pennsylvania. … ‘We’re burning the furniture to heat the house,’ said John H. Quigley, who left last month as secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. ‘In shifting away from coal and toward natural gas, we’re trying for cleaner air, but we’re producing massive amounts of toxic wastewater with salts and naturally occurring radioactive materials, and it’s not clear we have a plan for properly handling this waste.’” (19)

These toxins in this huge volume of highly contaminated wastewater include both volatile and soluble chemicals (20) and can be threats to health in other ways as well: through air pollution, pollution of wells and aquifers from spills, improper disposal, and accidents, and at end of lifecycle disposal. There is some evidence of contamination of soil as well, both from spills and leaks, and from volatile chemicals that evaporate into the air and then condense, settling on soil close to drilling areas.

Fracking wastewater is often held in open evaporation pits for years at a time. During this time volatile chemicals can be released into the air. “In the western US, it has been common practice to hold these liquids in open evaporation pits until the wells are shut down, which could be up to 25 years. …Our data reveal that extremely toxic chemicals are found in evaporation pits and indeed, these and other similar sites may need to be designated for Superfund cleanup. In the eastern U.S., and increasingly in the west, these chemicals are being re-injected underground, creating yet another potential source of extremely toxic chemical contamination,” writes Colborn. (21)

Generally, 30% – 70% of the chemical laden water that is injected underground returns to the surface with the natural gas it releases. A certain percentage remains underground. In some cases, very little returns, “lost” somewhere underground. The long-term impacts of this “lost” contaminated fluid are another unknown risk of shale gas fracking.

Finally, there is a seldom-mentioned health impact of fracking, its impact on mental health, as well as the emotional and financial stresses of living in what has been called “Fracking Hell.” There is the stress of having to ration water which once was plentiful, the impact of noise and light 24 hours a day, where once there was quiet, open space, and starry skies, the impact of knowing you can’t protect your once healthy child from illness and harm. There is the uncertainty and fear caused by unexplained medical symptoms, of developing a chronic illness or disability, of losing your physical strength and independence. There is the impact of being trapped in a situation you know is making you or your family sick but unable to leave because your home is now worthless, the impact of losing the farm your family built up over generations because your water is polluted and your cattle are sick, the impact of living in fear of what your environment may be doing to your family. There is the impact of having to face the reality that your welfare means nothing to people in power, feeling disbelieved, lied to and uncared about, and the grief of seeing a rural environment and way of life you have chosen and love destroyed by industrialization and pollution. These stresses are already apparent in places where fracking is taking place, as well as where fracking is anticipated. They need to be counted in the health costs of fracking and shale gas development.

One of the most remarkable things about fracking and shale gas development is that the potential impacts of this high-risk activity remain understudied and poorly understood. Although there is evidence of patterns of illnesses emerging in areas where shale gas development has taken place, there has been no epidemiological monitoring to detect emerging patterns of illness, a practice that Colborn recommends be implemented. (22) Health changes in communities where drilling is taking place have not been studied, in part because of the secrecy around fracking chemicals. Without hard facts about the chemicals in use, researchers cannot make definitive connections between shale gas operations and health effects.

Industry assertions that fracking is a safe technology have been mistaken for fact, in the absence, or suppression of other evidence. Gas industry representatives and many politicians claim over and over that shale gas and fracking are safe. But repetition does not make it true. The New York Times investigative series, Drilling Down, uncovered thousands of documents that indicate that both industry and regulatory bodies are aware that there are serious health and environmental dangers associated with fracking and shale gas that have not until now been available to the public. (23)

Many of the unknowns have long-term implications.

  • What will be the impact on children and developing fetuses in areas with high airborne toxins, or undetected toxins in drinking water?
  • What will be the impacts on adults and children of 24 hour a day exposure to airborne toxins, including carcinogens?
  • What will be the impacts on children and adults of drinking contaminated water?
  • What will be the impact on drinking water supplies of deliberately contaminating trillions of gallons of fresh water, 40 trillion in the U.S. alone by 2009. (24)
  • What will be the impact of permanently removing millions, or trillions, of gallons of water from the water table, that portion of fracking water which remains underground?
  • What will be the cumulative impacts of disposal of the trillions of gallons of contaminated wastewater from fracking, including the cumulative impacts of releasing large quantities of toxic, radioactive wastewater into the environment, whether into rivers and oceans or onto soil? ? There are four disposal methods presently used, and none have been evaluated for safety. (25)
  • Where will the toxic fracking chemicals left underground go — over decades, over a century?
  • What will be the impact of hundreds of thousands of fractures of the shale layer? Will previously contained toxins be released over time? Will there be an increase in radon in houses, arsenic and uranium in wells in areas where these substances are present? Can there be a cumulative impact of multiple underground explosions on the geological structure? Already, earthquakes have followed well drilling, fracking and drilling underground injection wells for disposal of wastewater in Arkansas, Alabama, Pennsylvania and England. (26)

Fracking and shale gas development could be a poster child for precaution, or as folk wisdom has it, better safe than sorry, or look before you leap. There are demonstrated risks of serious, long term and irreversible harm. A survey of past drilling practices across the U.S. led Dr. Ronald Bishop to conclude in a paper on the risks of natural gas extraction in New York that “the probability that a project scope of as few as ten modern gas wells will impact local ground water within a century approaches 100% certainty. (27)

Over the last few months, France and New Jersey have banned fracking, while New York and the Karoo region of South Africa have imposed moratoriums. Quebec, which is conducting a detailed review of fracking, imposed a moratorium after a report by the Bureau d’audiences publique sur l’environnement (BAPE) revealed that 19 of 31 exploratory wells in Quebec were found to be leaking. In New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, community opposition to shale gas and fracking is strong and growing as the industry is poised for major development. New Brunswick’s PC government and Nova Scotia’s NDP government seem intent on pushing ahead with shale gas, while imposing only minimal regulatory changes. Both governments have refused to undertake a complete evaluation of immediate and long-term risks before deciding to proceed, and both have refused to consider potential health impacts.

What should be done now? With so much evidence of harm, and so much at risk, it makes basic sense to put a moratorium on fracking for at least 10 years, until there is evidence from independent sources about the full costs of this type of development — costs to health, to clean water, to the environment, to rural communities, to other economic sectors and the impact in terms of climate change solutions. In ten years we may well find that there are better energy solutions than shale gas. In the meantime, we will have minimized the damage, rather than multiplying it.

Barbara Harris works with the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia (EHANS) and is co-author of the Guide to Less Toxic Products, www.lesstoxicguide.ca. She hopes to live happily and peacefully in River John, Nova Scotia, undisturbed by fracking and shale gas, and she wishes the same for all those whose lives are threatened by shale gas development.


REFERENCES:

1. Madison, Travis et al. Frontier Group and PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center, “In the Shadow of the Marcellus Boom: How Shale Gas Extraction Puts Vulnerable Pennsylvanians at Risk,” May 2011
2. This is not your Grandfather’s Gas Well
3. Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective, Colborn et al, accepted for publication in International Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, September 4, 2010. Expected publication: September-October 2011.
4. Ibid
5. Ibid
6. Ibid
7. Ibid
8. Bluedaze Blog
9. Town of Dish, Texas, Air Monitoring Analysis, Final Report, p. 6, Wolf Eagle Environmental, http://townofdish.com/objects/DISH_-_final_report_revised.pdf
10. The Case for a Ban on Gas Fracking, Food and Water Watch, 2011
11. Urbina, Ian, Regulation lax as gas wells’ tainted water hits rivers. New York Times, February 26, 2011
12. USA Today
13. Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective, Colborn et al, September 4, 2010. Expected publication: September-October 2011. 14. Buried Secrets: Is natural gas drilling endangering U.S. water supplies?, Lustgarten, Abraham, ProPublica, November 13, 2008
15. Natural Gas Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety, p. 9, April 2011, Earthworks Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project, Sharon Wilson, Lisa Sumi, Bill Walker and Jennifer Goldman
16. Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective, Colborn et al, September 4, 2010. Expected publication: September-October 2011.
17. Methane contamination of drinking wateraccompanying gas-well drilling andhydraulic fracturing, Stephen G. Osborna, AvnerVengosh, Nathaniel R. Warner, and Robert B. Jackson, 2011, Duke University, Durham, NC, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
18. Research and Policy Recommendations for Hydraulic Fracturing and Shale-Gas Extraction, Jackson et al, 2011, Center on Global Change, Duke University, Durham, NC.
19. Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers, Urbina, Feb 26, 2011,
20. Colborn
21. Colborn
22. Colborn
23. Urbina
24. Gaslands, the film
25. Ibid
26. RT, Globe and Mail
27. Ronald E. Bishop,Ph.D., CHO, Chemical and Biological Risk Assessment for Natural Gas Extraction in New York, Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, State University of New York, College at Oneonta


Resources

Health impacts of fracking and shale gas drilling

Chemical and Biological Risk Assessment for Natural Gas Extraction in New York
Ronald E. Bishop, Ph.D., CHO
Chemistry and Biochemistry Department
State University of New York, College at Oneonta
Draft, January 21, 2011
Click Here and Click Here

Chemicals in Natural Gas Operations, TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange
Click Here

Fracking: Implications for Human and Environmental Health, Collaborative on Health and Environment (CHE) Conference call, Nov 9, 2010
– Background Information/Resources: Click Here
– CHE Blog: Click Here
– Listen to the MP3 recording: Click Here
– Speakers: Sandra Steingraber, PhD, Theo Colborn, PhD, Dr. Tony Ingraffea, PhD, Wes Wilson, retired EPA: Click Here

‘Fracking’ Pollution In Water: Pennsylvania Allows Natural Gas Drilling Waste Disposal In Waterways
An account of the lack of effective disposal of contaminated fracking wastewater. Important lessons about how companies can circumvent regulation, and the necessity for “daily monitoring.”
Click Here

Methane and the greenhouse-gas footprint of naturalgas from shale formations
Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro, Anthony Ingraffea
Climatic Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0061-5
Click Here

Natural Gas Flowback: How the Texas Natural Gas Boom Affects Health and Safety
April 2011, Earthworks Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project
Sharon Wilson, Lisa Sumi, Bill Walker and Jennifer Goldman
www.earthworksaction.org/PR_TXOGAP-flowback.cfm
Click Here

Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective
Theo Colborn, Carol Kwiatkowski, Kim Schultz, and Mary Bachran
IN PRESS: Accepted for publication in the International Journal of Human
and Ecological Risk Assessment, September 4, 2010.
Expected publication: September-October 2011.
TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Paonia, CO, USA
Click Here

Presentation to the EPA public hearing
Sharon Wilson of Texas Oil and Gas Accountability Project on the health impacts of shale gas and fracking in Texas. 5 minute video, text version available.
Click Here

Poisoned families: four case studies of the impacts of dirty drilling in the Barnett Shale
Sharon Wilson, Texas organizer with Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project (OGAP) collected these case studies for presentation to the EPA. Also included is information on drops in property values and links to letters from physicians.
Click Here

Research and Policy Recommendations for Hydraulic Fracturing and Shale Gas
Extraction, Robert B. Jackson, Brooks Rainey Pearson, Stephen G. Osborn,
Nathaniel R. Warner, Avner Vengosh, Duke University, Durham, N.C., May, 2011
Click Here

Testimony before NYC City Council on Natural Gas Drilling, Statement of Dusty Horwitt, JD, Senior Counsel, Environmental Working Group, October 2009
Click Here

The Case for a Ban on Gas Fracking, Food and Water Watch, June 13, 2011.
Click Here

What you need to know about Natural Gas Production
Dr. Theo Colborn of The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX) presents an informative, clear and thorough documentary video on the chemicals used in fracking and their health impacts. 48 minutes
Click Here

Resources: Fracking and the release of radioactive substances

Regulations Lax as Tainted Water Hits Rivers, Ian Urbina, February 26, 2011, NY Times
Click Here

Study from American Petroleum Institute, 1990
This paper shows that API knew that released wastewater has potential to build up in fish with cancer causing potential. Submitted to EPA as draft document, never released to public.
Click Here

From the NY Times overview of document, page 417:
This study was provided to The Times by an E.P.A. official who said it shows that dilution of drilling waste does not always succeed in eliminating the health risks posed by that waste. The study is marked confidential and was conducted on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute in 1990. It found a potential increased risk of cancer among people who often eat fish from waters where drilling waste is discharged. The study is relevant because state regulators in Pennsylvania have said that dilution is effectively removing the risks posed by drilling waste that is discharged into rivers. Importantly, this study found an increased risk of cancer when drilling waste was dumped into a larger body of water than Pennsylvania rivers. Furthermore, state records indicate that the radium levels found in Pennsylvania wastewater are much higher than those used in this study.
Click Here

Statement to Bradford County Commissioners, Crystal Stroud, Towanda Pennsylvania, April 28, 2011
The statement documents barium and other radiologicals contaminating Stroud’s well water and health problems she now suffers
Click Here

Prominent environment attorney: Fracking radiation injuring Gulf Peoples
Includes information about TENORM, Technologically Enhanced Radioactive Material, which is produced when activities such as uranium mining, oil and gas production or sewage sludge treatment concentrate or expose naturally occurring radioactive materials in ores, soils, water, or other natural materials. TENORM ,defined by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences as: “Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials”, refers to are any naturally occurring radioactive materials not subject to regulation under the Atomic Energy Act whose radio nuclide concentrations or potential for human exposure have been increased above levels encountered in the natural state by human activities. While federal and state agencies have tried to develop ways to protect humans and the environment from harmful exposure to the radiation in such materials, TERM remains a challenging problem in the United States.
Click Here

Resources: Major overviews of fracking and shale gas

Drilling Down series, NY Times
This link will take you to part one, which contains links to the other parts of the series, and to documentation on which the series was based, including 30,000 pages of information obtained through FOI. The series contains important information which has been suppressed until now about the inherent hazards of fracking.
Click Here

Fracking the Future: How Unconventional Gas Threatens Our Water, Health and Climate, Carol Linnett et al, May 6, 2011.
Click Here

Fracture Lines: Will Canada’s Water be Protected in the Rush to Develop Shale Gas?, By Ben Parfitt
For the Program on Water Issues, Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto, September 15, 2010
This paper provides a comprehensive study of the impact of shale gas development on Canada’s water. It was written before the information was obtained about fracking wastewater containing high levels of radioactive materials.
Click Here and Click Here

Will Natural Gas Fuel America in the 21st Century, David Hughes, May 2011
Click Here

Fracking Videos

Burning Waters, a film by Cameron Esler and Tadzio Richards produced in association with CBC.
In the Rosebud River valley, an hour east of Calgary, the water in many homes can be lit on fire. Everyone agrees there’s gas in the water. Few agree on why.
Click Here

Fracking Hell: The True Cost of America’s Gas Rush
This 17 minute video from the BBC British Ecological TV Unit provides an excellent overview of the risks of fracking. It includes interviews with citizens affected by drilling near their homes, and with experts on shall gas development. It is particularly informative around impacts of gas exploration in small towns, problems with wastewater disposal, and dangers from radium and radon in shale deposits.
Click Here

Gasland
The movie which brought the issue of fracking to international attention. Can be viewed free on line. Click Here

Fracking in popular format

My Water’s on Fire Tonight, a catchy musical package with solid information.
Click Here

Things Have a Way of Happening
Lots of accurate information in a animated film version of the history and risks of fracking.
Click Here

Compiled by Barb Harris, June 2011


 
Also in this issue on An Ounce …