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Fracking: Techniques and experiences, risks and hazards

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing means pumping thousands of gallons of water, mixed with tons of toxic chemicals and sand, deep underground under extreme pressure to crack oil or gas bearing rock in order to set free those fossil fuel resources.

The notion of producing even more climate-toxic fossil fuels, especially with such a high-risk method like fracking, is rejected by many people worldwide. They demand the implementation of the necessary climate change targets and therefore stress the need for a quick exit from an economy based on fossil fuels and a fast development of renewable energy forms, backed by an improvement in energy efficiency.

Nevertheless, the global oil and gas industry and some governments somehow still hold on to the fossil fuel economy model, never minding the imminent climate change, the proven risks and hazards of fracking for water resources and health, the unresolved problems of getting rid of the industrial waste in an environmentally suitable fashion and the social and ecologic conflicts involved.

Learn more about fracking, fossil fuel geology, and technical developments: Fracking explained

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Child on a swing with fracking site in the background

Adequacy of Current State Setbacks for Directional High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

The evidence uncovered by this review suggests that presently utilized setbacks may leave the public vulnerable to explosions, radiant heat, toxic gas clouds, and air pollution from hydraulic fracturing activities. Abstract Background: There is an increasing awareness of the multiple potential pathways leading to human health risks from hydraulic fracturing. Setback distances are a legislative …

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Associations between Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Nasal and Sinus, Migraine Headache, and Fatigue Symptoms in Pennsylvania

  Study: Associations between Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Nasal and Sinus, Migraine Headache, and Fatigue Symptoms in Pennsylvania   Authors: Aaron W. Tustin,1 Annemarie G. Hirsch,2 Sara G. Rasmussen,1 Joan A. Casey,3 Karen Bandeen-Roche,4 and Brian S. Schwartz1,2,5   Author Affiliations: 1Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, …

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white lab mice

Adverse Reproductive and Developmental Health Outcomes Following Prenatal Exposure to a Hydraulic Fracturing Chemical Mixture in Mice

The authors of this study have previously shown that 23 of 24 commonly used hydraulic fracturing chemicals can activate or inhibit the estrogen, androgen, glucocorticoid, progesterone, and/or thyroid receptors in a human endometrial cancer cell reporter gene assay and that mixtures can behave synergistically, additively, or antagonistically on these receptors. Their study results suggest potential …

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Collage: Baby under frac site

The association between oil and natural gas extraction processes and human reproduction

This review of the current literature makes clear: The impact of unconventional oil and gas activities may be greater than that of conventional activity, given that unconventional activities employ many of the same approaches and use dozens of known endocrine-disrupting chemicals in hydraulic fracturing. Abstract: This systematic review identified 45 original published research articles related …

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Scheme: Water use in hydraulic fracturing.

Managing the Increasing Water Footprint of Hydraulic Fracturing

The water footprint of oil production, including water used for hydraulic fracturing (HF) and flowback-produced (FP) water, is increasingly important in terms of HF water sourcing and FP water management. This study evaluates trends in HF water use relative to supplies and FP water relative to disposal using well by well analysis in the Bakken …

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Figure 1- John Fenton points to Pavillion farms and gas development sites

When the wind blows: tracking toxic chemicals in gas fields and impacted communities

When the Wind Blows: Tracking Toxic Chemicals in Gas Fields and Impacted Communities is a report documenting Coming Clean’s collaborative, community-based research project to monitor toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in gas fields in rural Pavillion, Wyoming and to see what same VOCs are present in the bodies of people who work and live there. …

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Warning Signs: Toxic Air Pollution Identified at Oil and Gas Sites

The recent U.S. oil and gas boom has transformed hundreds of communities across the country—from rural areas and small towns to suburbs and cities—into industrial production zones.  Oil and gas companies are using unconventional techniques such as hydraulic fracturing—known known as “fracking”—to extract deposits wherever they can be reached, even if those places are in the backyards of homes, near schools or places of worship, …

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The compatibility of UK onshore petroleum with meeting the UK’s carbon budgets

The Committee’s report ‘The compatibility of UK onshore petroleum with meeting the UK’s carbon budgets’ is the result of a new duty under the Infrastructure Act 2015. This duty requires the CCC to advise the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change about the implications of exploitation of onshore petroleum, including shale gas, for …

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