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Deadly chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing revealed

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As hundreds of natural gas deposits have been 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 to 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.

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.


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I am an American freelance writer and ghostwriter now living the expat life in Argentina. Never far from my coffee and Marlboros, I am always interested in discussing future work opportunities. Join the million-or-so who follow my life and (more...)

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