Pennsylvanians Against Fracking Responds to New Yale Study Linking Fracking to Cancer-Causing Chemicals, Call on Governor Wolf to Implement a Statewide Moratorium on Fracking Press Release by Pennsylvanians Against Fracking, October 26, 2016
Pennsylvania – The following is a statement from Pennsylvanians Against Fracking in response to a new analysis by Yale School of Public Health researchers establishing a link between cancer-causing chemicals and fracking, including some that are known to cause childhood leukemia and lymphoma. The Yale team calls for additional research, specifically a list of 55 carcinogens that must be studied.
Yale researchers just gave Governor Wolf the perfect justification for a statewide moratorium on fracking, not that he’s looking for one. He has steadfastly ignored the mountain of peer reviewed studies that make a solid case for a halt to further drilling.
The paper comes just one day before a group that has dubbed itself the Moms of Fort Cherry School District in western PA plans to rally to stop a well from being constructed just over a half mile from the schools their children attend. A recent report from Environment America says that more than 8,500 Pennsylvania school children, grades K-12, attend classes within a half mile of drilling activities. The number grows to nearly 58,000 within a mile and to nearly 132,000 within two miles of drilling. The Moms of Fort Cherry School District is not the first group of concerned parents to organize to try to protect their children from fracking. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to be the last.
When Governor Wolf was elected, 425 peer-reviewed studies had been done on fracking. By the time he’d been in office six months, the number had jumped to 550. As of the most recent count in April by Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy, the number had topped 685.
Since then, studies have linked asthma attacks, migraines, fatigue, and chronic nasal and sinus problems to fracking, every one of them conducted in Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf has ignored them all. But the clear next steps laid out in the Yale study demand his attention.
Governor Wolf must impose a statewide moratorium on fracking and direct state health officials to conduct the studies required to fully understand the risks posed by the carcinogenic chemicals listed by the researchers. If he does any less, he must be prepared to quantify for the public exactly how many children he is willing to sacrifice to cancer in order to enable the natural gas industry. [Emphasis added]
About Pennsylvanians Against Fracking
Pennsylvanians Against Fracking is a statewide coalition of organizations, institutions, and businesses calling for a halt to fracking in the Commonwealth. Steering Committee member organizations include Berks Gas Truth, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, Food & Water Watch, Marcellus Outreach Butler, Marcellus Protest, Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, and Thomas Merton Center. Learn more about Pennsylvanians Against Fracking at paagainstfracking.org.
Fracking Linked to Cancer-Causing Chemicals, New YSPH Study by Denise L Meyer, October 24, 2016, Yale School of Public Health
An expansive new analysis by Yale School of Public Health researchers confirms that numerous carcinogens involved in the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing have the potential to contaminate air and water in nearby communities.
Fracking is now common in the United States, currently occurring in 30 states, and with millions of people living within one mile of a fracking site. The study suggests that the presence of carcinogens involved in or released by hydraulic fracturing operations has the potential to increase the risk of childhood leukemia. The presence of chemicals alone does not confirm exposure or risk of exposure to carcinogens and future studies are needed to evaluate cancer risk. [How many studies, for how many years? Until the families living frac’d, bathing in toxic water, breathing contaminated air, die of cancer? Who decides?]
“Because children are a particularly vulnerable population, research efforts should first be directed toward investigating whether exposure to hydraulic fracturing is associated with an increased risk,” said lead author Nicole Deziel, Ph.D., assistant professor. Childhood leukemia is a particular concern because of the severity and short latency period of the disease.
The study “Unconventional oil and gas development and risk of childhood leukemia: Assessing the evidence” is published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.
The team examined an extensive list of more than 1,000 chemicals that may be released into air or water as a result of fracking. “Previous studies have examined the carcinogenicity of more selective lists of chemicals,” said Deziel. “To our knowledge, our analysis represents the most expansive review of carcinogenicity of hydraulic fracturing-related chemicals in the published literature.”
According to the findings, the majority of chemicals (>80 percent) lacked sufficient data on cancer-causing potential, highlighting an important knowledge gap. [Just how industry and its enabling regulators and governments like it, and want to keep it?] Of the 119 compounds with sufficient data, 44 percent of the water pollutants and 60 percent of air pollutants were either confirmed or possible carcinogens. Because some chemicals could be released to both air and water, the study revealed a total of 55 unique compounds with carcinogenic potential. Furthermore, 20 chemicals had evidence of increased risk for leukemia or lymphoma specifically. This analysis creates a priority list of carcinogens to target for future exposure and health studies.
Fracking, also known as unconventional oil and gas development, has increased dramatically in recent years, and the practice is expected to grow in the future. The process involves drilling deep [and shallow and extremely shallow, and as shallow as drinking water aquifers, with companies, like Encana, sometimes intentionally frac’ing directly into them], as far as two miles, into the earth and releasing a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals that fracture the rock and release the gas or oil trapped inside. While fracking increases the production of domestic oil and natural gas and decreases prices, it is controversial because of the significant amounts of water that must be used as well as transported to fracking sites, as well as the release of carcinogens.
The team has begun been testing air and water samples for some of these known and suspected carcinogens in a community with particularly intense exposure to fracking to evaluate whether people there are exposed to these compounds, and if so, at what concentrations. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to:
2015 09 29: Big Legal Victory in Pennsylvania: Supreme Court rules 2012 law unfairly gave frackers illegal “special” treatment; Declares Act 13 an unconstitutional “special law” benefiting specific groups or industries, including its “physician gag order” restricting health-care professionals from getting information about chemicals that could harm their patients
2016 08 26: Two new peer-reviewed studies published after Florida significantly increases toxic chemicals allowed dumped in waterways: 1) Chemicals used in fracking, other gas, oil operations increase risk of miscarriages, reduced male fertility, prostate cancer, birth defects, preterm birth by disrupting hormones; 2) Lit review shows increased risk of negative reproductive effects from exposure to fracking, other oil, gas extraction activities, especially for miscarriages, reduced semen quality, prostate cancer, birth defects, preterm birth
2016 07 30: CEPA, Canada’s main environmental law isn’t working. Of course it isn’t, the oil and gas industry is largely exempt while emissions of the most harmful chemicals are on the rise. Live in a frac field? Hold your breath, don’t drink the water.
2016 06 14: Elevated Cancer risks surround oil & gas drilling. Fracking is bad for your health says Israel Health Ministry official; Frac flowback stage causes greatest air pollution; WORLD-WIDE STUDY: One in three strokes caused by air pollution
2016 06 11: Massachusetts Senate Passes 10-Year Moratorium on Fracking and Disposal of Frac Wastewater in the Commonwealth. Senate President: “Fracking releases harmful chemicals into our air while contaminating fresh groundwater, causing seismic events, flaring methane and severely harming public health.”
2016 05 01: Albertans still don’t know what toxic oilfield chemicals their children are breathing. When will companies be ordered to fully disclose all chemicals, including trade secrets, before racing toxic truck loads through school zones, by hospitals, where children play, and before injected, spilled, dumped, spread on foodlands, flared, vented, spewed from endless facilities?
2016 04 30: Flooding flushes oil, frac chemicals into Texas rivers. Corporate due diligence requires planning for natural disasters (eg don’t drill, frac in water bodies or flood plains), but, regulators don’t care, don’t regulate, so companies plan only for greed. Poisoned communities/families too controlled by their own greed to work towards change
2016 03 29: New peer-reviewed published paper by Digiulio & Jackson, Pavillion Wyoming aquifers contaminated by fracking: Only one industry is allowed to inject toxic chemicals into underground sources of drinking water – hydraulic fracturing
2016 02 24: Oil & gas & frac companies poisoning Alberta families, injecting toxic chemicals into community air, on roads & food land & in drinking water aquifers Go Free while Edmonton dry cleaner first person in Canada to get jail sentence for using dangerous chemicals
2016 01 26: New Study Confirms Fracking Wastewater Is Cancer-Causing. “Barium and Strontium were elevated in frac flowback water exposed cells.” Encana and Alberta government testing showed barium & strontium doubled in Ernst’s water after Encana’s illegal aquifer fracing
Kimberly Mildenstein, Alberta mother of three boys, attends councilor Paddy Munro’s frac presentation to Mountain View County Council: “Fracking is crimes against humanity.”
2015 12 18: Why the Bully Victim Act? What fraud this time? What are AER & Bonavista hiding? Perpetual acid gas injection break outs into drinking water zones? Frac hit(s)? Other toxic chemicals contaminating Edson groundwater? Bonavista whines about AER ordering it to do the right thing. PS Who’s going to fix the aquifers?
2015 11 23: Prevent Cancer Now calls out AER’s Health Fraud! “The AER has no jurisdiction for human health, and Alberta is famed for a chill against the medical community linking ill health to petrochemicals.”
The AER aims to ensure “the efficient, safe, orderly and environmentally responsible development of oil, natural gas, coal and oil sands throughout the province for the benefit of all Albertans.”
How do we know that energy developments are indeed “safe” as claimed? The AER has no jurisdiction for human health, and Alberta is famed for a chill against the medical community linking ill health to petrochemicals. To connect the dots, researchers first need publicly accessible data about environmental quality (air, water, earth, food), health, socio-economic factors and so on. This data must be sufficiently fine-grained and in formats easily meshed to see trends and conduct research. In an absence of evidence, how could the AER and Albertans possibly respond?
Data-driven evidence and decisions are only as good as the numbers, and the AER relies principally on proponent-supplied laboratory results. The only commercial lab conducting specialist analyses for companies closed unexpectedly and abruptly in 2014. Coincidentally, that sudden shuttering took place one week after disclosure to the AER Peace River Proceeding of a “Canadian Detection Limit Policy” to maximize detection limits “to protect our clients’ interests.”
[ The reasons why detection limits are sometimes increased are as varied as the samples we receive for analysis. In all cases, our goal is to protect our clients’ interests by preventing false positive results. ]
2015 11 15: Texas: Hydraulic Fracturing Stimulation contaminating drinking water, 25 per cent of water wells tested by Dr. Zack Hildenbrand show contamination with man-made chemicals used in fracking the Eagle Ford: “This practice is having an affect”
2015 07 27: Pennsylvania Study Links Fracking to Health Hazards in Fetuses, Infants, Young Children: 35.1% more cancer in children ages zero to four in heavily frac’d counties. Compare to AER’s belittling, dismissive health study in the Lochend
2015 04 15: “Levels of contaminants higher than in some of the world’s most polluted cities have been found downwind of Canada’s largest oil, gas and tar sands processing zone…where men suffer elevated rates of cancers linked to such chemicals”
2015 02 15: Dr. Alfonso Rodriguez challenging Pennsylvania’s Act 13 Gag Rule which prohibits disclosure of frac chemicals, even by doctors treating patients poisoned by fracing unless they sign strict confidentiality agreements
2014 11 04: PA DEP: September Drilling Communication Event Contaminated Drinking Water in Doddridge County, Proves drilling, perforating, acidizing, fracing, cavitation, servicing chemicals must be fully disclosed – without trade secrets – before any activity, not just frac chemicals long after fracing
2014 07 24: Harper government enabling the frac harm cover up? Environment Canada criticized for leaving fracking chemicals off pollutant list saying not enough frac chemicals used – 362,000 litres of diesel invert lost underground near Alberta family home
2014 03 11: Canada’s National Pollutant Release Inventory [NPRI] Oil and Gas Sector Review; Chemicals injected and fugitive or venting emissions (e.g. H2S) by oil and gas industry exempt from reporting
2014 03 11: Santos CBM in NSW Australia contaminates aquifer with uranium at 20 times the safe drinking water levels; Regulator does not test for thorium, radon and radium! Thorium and radon are known to cause lung cancer.
2013 12 18: Hormone-disrupting chemicals found in ground and surface water at fracking sites, Peer reviewed study of fracking sites in Garfield County Colorado finds chemicals linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer
2013 12 02: ConocoPhillips chemical data falls short, releases same report as previously, keeps some frac chemicals secret and does not list drilling, servicing, perforating chemicals which can be more harmful
2012 10 24: Official urges EPA review, labeling of frac chemicals IT’S STILL NOT HAPPENING!
2012 06 08: North Dakota Turns Blind Eye to Dumping of Fracking Waste in Waterways and Farmland, Releases of drilling and fracking waste, which is often laced with carcinogenic chemicals, have wiped out aquatic life in streams and wetlands
2012 03 21: TINY DOSES OF GAS DRILLING CHEMICALS MAY HAVE BIG HEALTH EFFECTS, Authors of new study encourage more low-dose testing of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, with implications for the debate on natural gas drilling
2012 02 24: AER opens up about chemicals used in fracking process but as of October 2016, still not mandatory for companies to disclose what they inject(ed) into fresh water zones in Alberta, not even what they inject(ed) directly into community drinking water aquifers, and still not mandatory for companies to disclose drilling, cementing, acidizing, servicing, or perforating chemicals, or trade secret frac chemicals
2011 12 30: Fracking fears spur review of oilpatch regulations: Provinces commited to registry to disclose use of chemicals But, it’s still not happening, anywhere, for all chemicals injected, including trade secrets, and no jurisdiction mandates chemical disclosure before the chemicals are raced through communities and injected under privately owned lands and homes.
2011 10 29: AER was then and still is now, a big fat liar! ERCB (now AER) says frac chemicals publicly available upon request Ernst and many others have been asking the regulator and companies to disclose chemicals injected, with zero success. Alberta Rules of Court and a Court Order by Justice Wittmann can’t even make Enana disclose the chemicals injected into the drinking water aquifers that supply Ernst’s water well and other citizen wells, and the municipal water wells owned by Wheatland County that supply the businesses in and community of Rosebud.
2011 08 11: Department of Energy panel: Gas drillers should reveal fracking chemicals, manage impacts But, they don’t and governments and regulators do not compel them to, likely because it’s impossible to manage the many horrific frac impacts.
2011 07 08: A company that contaminated groundwater with cancer-causing chemicals banned from any future underground coal gasification (UCG) activities in Queensland How does that fix the groundwater?
Since February, the Subcommittee has sent letters to 14 oil and gas well service
companies requesting information on their hydraulic fracturing practices, In their responses, these companies identified well operators, rather than well service companies, as the entities most likely to maintain data on the proximity of specific wells to underground sources of drinking water. Similarly, the well service companies directed us to the well operators, such as your company, for information on the recovery and disposal of fluids and water that flow back to the surface of wells that have been hydraulically fractured,
To help inform the Subcommittee on these issues, please provide us with the following
documents and information:
1. A list of all oil and gas wells for which your company performed or hired another
company to perform hydraulic fracturing in 2008 and 2009 and for which that hydraulic fracturing occurred in, near, or above an underground source of drinking water as defined by the Safe Drinking Water Act. For each well, provide the name of the company or companies that performed hydraulic fracturing at that well.
3. All tests performed to determine the chemical content off lowback and produced water from wells that were hydraulically fractured in 2008 and 2009. Identify documents related to the wells referenced in request #3 above.
6. All documents relating to any allegations of harm to human health or the environment caused by hydraulic fracturing at your wells, including from improper on-site storage or spills of fluids recovered from your wells; improper on- or off-site disposal or discharge of recovered fluids; and contamination of drinking water.
Ernst asked Encana for a copy of their submission to US Congress because it’s extremely important and relevant to her contaminated water well and others in her community. Encana refused to provide it, claiming it’s not.
Encana did not file the company’s submission in document exchange with Ernst. Encana’s documents important and relevant to Ernst’s lawsuit were ordered by the court to be filed with Ernst no later than December 19, 2014.
2006: How Encana treats the environment and communities it operates in:
Encana chemical storage in the rain at Rosebud, Alberta
2005: Encana presentation on it’s frac experiments at Suffield National Wildlife Area
Encana did not disclose it’s “new and improved” frac chemical recipes in document exchange with Ernst or any of the toxic chemicals the company injected into about 200 shallow frac’d gas wells at Rosebud until the company reportedly cleaned up its toxic chemical act.