Letter: As public health researchers we noted your report “Friends of the Earth forced to withdraw anti-fracking leaflets” (January 4) and wish to highlight the following. Fracking operations involve pumping millions of litres of water containing fracking fluids underground. A small percentage of wastewater contains returned fracking fluids. Estimates vary depending on geological conditions but recent research suggests typically 4 to 8 per cent. It is well established in peer reviewed studies and government reports that fracturing fluids and wastewater have contaminated ground and surface waters. An early peer reviewed study on chemicals in fracking fluids found 25 per cent could cause cancer and mutations, 37 per cent could affect the endocrine system, 40- 50 per cent could affect the brain/nervous system, kidneys, immune system and cardiovascular systems. More recent studies support these findings, including a systematic evaluation that examined 240 fracking substances and found evidence suggesting 43 per cent were linked to reproductive toxicity and 40 per cent to developmental toxicity. In 2011, the New York Times reported that “in Texas, which now has about 93,000 natural-gas wells, up from around 58,000 a dozen years ago, a hospital system in six counties with some of the heaviest drilling said in 2010 that it found a 25 per cent asthma rate for young children, more than three times the state rate of about 7 per cent”. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine this year found asthma sufferers who lived near certain levels of shale gas activity were 1.5 to 4.4 times more likely to have an increased risk of asthma attacks.
FT 10th Jan 2017 read more »
Guardian 9th Jan 2017 read more »