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Chronic Oral Toxicity Values for Chemicals Present in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids, Flowback and Produced Waters

Concerns have been raised about potential public health effects that may arise if hydraulic fracturing-related chemicals were to impact drinking water resources. This study presents an overview of the chronic oral toxicity values—specifically, chronic oral reference values (RfVs) for noncancer effects, and oral slope factors (OSFs) for cancer—that are available for a list of 1,173 chemicals that the United States (US) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified as being associated with hydraulic fracturing, including 1,076 chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids, and 134 chemicals detected in flowback or produced waters from hydraulically fractured wells.

Key findings:

  • 90 (8%) of the 1,076 chemicals reported in hydraulic fracturing fluids and 83 (62%) of the 134 chemicals reported in flowback/produced water had a chronic oral RfV or OSF available from one or more of the six sources.
  • Of the 36 chemicals reported in hydraulic fracturing fluids in at least 10% of wells nationwide (identified from EPA’s analysis of the FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry 1.0), 8 chemicals (22%) have an available chronic oral RfV.
  • The lack of chronic oral RfVs and OSFs for the majority of these chemicals highlights the significant knowledge gap that exists to assess the potential human health hazards associated with hydraulic fracturing.

Bibliography:
Erin E. Yost, John Stanek, Robert S. DeWoskin, and Lyle D. Burgoon
Overview of Chronic Oral Toxicity Values for Chemicals Present in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids, Flowback and Produced Waters
Environ. Sci. Technol., Just Accepted Manuscript
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b04645
Publication Date (Web): April 6, 2016

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