Massive review of fracking science confirms the industry poses a serious threat to both environment and human health

"All together, the data show that fracking impairs the health of people who live nearby, especially pregnant women, and swings a wrecking ball at the climate,"

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A new scientific review of nearly 1,500 fracking studies, government reports, and investigative reports clearly show the overwhelmingly negative effect fracking poses to the environment and human health.

84 percent of the studies analyzed by doctors and scientists, all of which were published between 2009-2015 concluded that the fracking industry is detrimental to human health.

What’s more, states Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York, who released the report, drilling, fracking, and reliance on natural gas are incompatible with climate solutions.

The full review, named Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking, sixth edition, was conducted by scientists, doctors, and experts that have extensive experience with the issue.

There is a substantive body of evidence nowadays versus ten years ago when there were only a handful of peer-reviewed studies, says the report. The final analysis concludes that “the vast majority of evidence points to serious risks and harms from drilling, fracking, and related infrastructures like pipelines and compressor stations.”

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Furthermore, public health implications grow increasingly serious as more and more people live close to an active natural gas project. At least six percent of the U.S. population currently lives within a mile of an active oil or gas well.

“All together, the data show that fracking impairs the health of people who live nearby, especially pregnant women, and swings a wrecking ball at the climate,” said Sandra Steingraber, PhD, co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York. “We urgently call on political leaders to act on the knowledge we’ve compiled.”

Additional alarming information from the report included:

  • Public health effects associated with drilling and fracking include poor birth outcomes, cardiovascular and respiratory impacts, and cancer risks.
  • Fracking infrastructure—including gas-fired power plants, pipelines, sand mining, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities—poses serious exposure risks to those living nearby.
  • Drilling and fracking contribute to toxic air pollution and smog (ground-level ozone) at levels known to have health impacts. Workers are at special risk.
  • Fracking raises human rights and environmental justice issues.
  • Fracking and disposal of fracking waste threaten drinking water.

The report also notes that due to methane leaks, natural gas extraction could be contributing to climate change even more than coal.

“The state of New York banned fracking in 2014 on the basis of those 400 studies,” said Steingraber. “As of April, there were 1,778 studies. So we have more than 4 times the amount of evidence as we did then, and the evidence that fracking cannot be done safely has only been reinforced by the new literature.”

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