May 31, 2012
Since hundreds of natural gas deposits were found in Idaho a drilling boom has started which is starting to spread over 32 states.
The main method for extracting the natural gas is known as hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking". Fracking has been called safe since a 2004 study by EPA said it posed no risk to drinking water.
The George W. Bush administration -- with the collusion of congress -- used the 2004 EPA study to push through and justify legislation of what is called the "Halliburton loophole". This loophole EXEMPTS fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Legislation also exempted fracking from the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts.
Many investigations by state agencies and environmental watchdog groups have found fracking to be the common thread in more than 1,000 cases of contaminated water across seven states.
ProPublica investigations, however, found fracking to be the common thread in more than 1,000 cases of water contamination across seven states.
Accidents where the steel casing which was supposed to contain liquids ruptured, leaking contaminated water into surface and subsurface water supplies. Aggravating the water contamination is the fact that up to 90 percent of fracking fluid is returned to the surface during well completion and follow-up production.
While state and federal regulators and legislators say that the fluid used in fracking is made up of 99.5 sand and water, what has not been revealed until now is the identity of some of the more potent chemicals used.
Which each well using between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 gallons of water, one half of one percent still means that up to 15, 000 thousand gallons of chemicals are used in each well. Most experts within the gas and oil drilling industry will tell you that between 690 and 720 different chemicals are used. They won't tell you the identity of the chemicals.
A 2011 study of the chemicals used in fracking indicated that the 14 leading fracking companies in the United States injected 10.2 million gallons of chemicals that are known human carcinogens which are regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Deadly chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing revealed.
The most lethal chemicals* known to be used, their source and exposure results are:
Methanol appeared most often in hydraulic fracturing products (in terms of the number of compounds containing the chemical).
Found in antifreeze, paint solvent and vehicle fuel.
Vapors can cause eye irritation, headache and fatigue, and in high enough doses can be fatal. Swallowing may cause eye damage or death.
- BTEX compounds
The BTEX compounds -- benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene -- are listed as hazardous air pollutants in the Clean Air Act and contaminants in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Benzene, commonly found in gasoline, is also a known human carcinogen. Long time exposure can cause cancer, bone marrow failure, or leukemia. Short term effects include dizziness, weakness, headache, breathlessness, chest constriction, nausea, and vomiting.
Toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes have harmful effects on the central nervous system.
The hydraulic fracturing companies injected 11.4 million gallons of products containing at least one BTEX chemical between 2005 and 2009.
- Diesel fuel
A carcinogen listed as a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act and a contaminant in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
In its 2004 report, the EPA stated that the "use of diesel fuel in fracturing fluids poses the greatest threat" to underground sources of drinking water.
Hydraulic fracturing companies injected more than 30 million gallons of diesel fuel or hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states.
Diesel fuel contains toxic constituents, including BTEX compounds.
Contact with skin may cause redness, itching, burning, severe skin damage and cancer.
(Kerosene is also used. Found in jet and rocket fuel, the vapor can cause irritation of the eyes and nose, and ingestion can be fatal. Chronic exposure may cause drowsiness, convulsions, coma or death.)
A carcinogen found in paint, building construction materials and roofing joints [and fracking!].
It is listed as a hazardous air pollutant in the Clean Air Act and a contaminant in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Lead is particularly harmful to children's neurological development. It also can cause reproductive problems, high blood pressure, and nerve disorders in adults.
One of the hydraulic fracturing companies used 780 gallons of a product containing lead between 2005 and 2009.
- Hydrogen fluoride
Found in rust removers, aluminum brighteners and heavy duty cleaners.
Listed as a hazardous air pollutant in the Clean Air Act.
Fumes are highly irritating, corrosive, and poisonous. Repeated ingestion over time can lead to hardening of the bones, and contact with liquid can produce severe burns. A lethal dose is 1.5 grams.
Absorption of substantial amounts of hydrogen fluoride by any route may be fatal.
One of the hydraulic fracturing companies used 67,222 gallons of two products containing hydrogen fluoride in 2008 and 2009.
A carcinogen found in mothballs [and fracking!].
Listed as a hazardous air pollutant in the Clean Air Act.
Inhalation can cause respiratory tract irritation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fever or death.
- Sulfuric acid
A carcinogen found in lead-acid batteries for cars [and fracking!].
Corrosive to all body tissues. Inhalation may cause serious lung damage and contact with eyes can lead to a total loss of vision. The lethal dose is between 1 teaspoonful and one-half ounce.
A carcinogen found in concrete, brick mortar and construction sands [and fracking!].
Dust is harmful if inhaled repeatedly over a long period of time and can lead to silicosis or cancer.
A carcinogen found in embalming agents for human or animal remains [Elmers Glue, paints, and fracking!.
Ingestion of even one ounce of liquid can cause death. Exposure over a long period of time can cause lung damage and reproductive problems in women.
*U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee Hydraulic Fracturing Report.
Many fracking fluids contain chemicals that are listed as 'trade secret'. The leading fracking companies used 94 million gallons of 279 products that contained at least one chemical or component that the manufacturers wouldn't list. The oil and gas companies were unable to identify this proprietary chemical which means they are injecting fluids containing chemicals that they themselves can't identify.