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Final Background for fracking.webp

FRACKING

"Fracking is linked to the significant release of methane and other greenhouse gases, exacerbating climate change concerns. These emissions contribute to the degradation of air quality and heighten health risks in regions with fracking operations, such as Belmont County. The growing body of evidence calls for stringent air quality monitoring and regulatory frameworks to address the environmental and health impacts of fracking-related gas emissions."

"Fracking activities have raised concerns about air quality due to the emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and carcinogenic toxins, with Belmont County among others reporting increased pollution levels. These emissions are associated with potential health risks, emphasizing the need for vigilant air quality monitoring and regulatory measures to protect public health in affected regions."

"Research across six states has revealed significant health impacts of fracking on livestock, including respiratory failure, circulatory collapse, and increased stillbirths and developmental issues in calves. These conditions were notably prevalent in animals exposed to fracking fluids or contaminated water sources, underscoring the urgent need for comprehensive studies to assess the full extent of fracking's environmental and health repercussions on agricultural communities."

Fracking poses significant risks to drinking water, with potential for contamination by chemicals used in the process, as well as methane, heavy metals, and radioactive materials. These contaminants can seep into groundwater and surface waters, affecting the quality and safety of drinking water for nearby communities. Studies have shown increased levels of methane and other pollutants in water sources close to fracking sites, leading to health risks and necessitating costly treatment processes to ensure water safety. The environmental and health impacts underscore the need for stringent monitoring and regulation of fracking activities to protect water resources.

"Fracking operations have led to significant soil contamination, with wastewater containing chemicals that induce the release of harmful soil particles. Research, including studies from Cornell University, has demonstrated that these interactions can lead to enhanced soil pollution, posing environmental and health hazards."

"Research links fracking to increased seismic activity, with significant earthquakes in areas like Oklahoma and Texas correlating with fracking operations. Notably, Oklahoma experienced a magnitude 5.8 quake, and studies attribute these events to wastewater injection and fracturing processes. This emerging data highlights the need for stringent monitoring and regulatory measures to mitigate fracking's geological impacts."

"The use of fracking brine for dust control on rural roads has raised environmental concerns. This practice can lead to the spread of contaminants, as the brine contains toxic substances that can leach into surrounding soils and waterways, leading to pollution and potential health risks."

In Reeves County, Texas, agricultural fields near fracking sites showed reduced yields and soil salinization, hinting at potential contamination from fracking. Groundwater used for irrigation also appeared saltier. While a direct link to fracking hasn't been conclusively proven, the regional drilling and waste disposal, involving large water and chemical injections, are concerning. Additionally, a study by the University of Navarra, Chicago Booth, and the University of Bristol linked fracking to higher salt levels in surface waters, observing increased barium, chloride, and strontium concentrations. Although these were within EPA safe limits, the study calls for better water-quality monitoring to fully understand fracking's impact【87†source】.

Fracking significantly impacts ecosystems, causing habitat fragmentation and pollution that lead to biodiversity loss. Activities associated with fracking, like building infrastructure, disrupt natural environments and threaten wildlife. Invasive species spread and water contamination further harm ecosystems, necessitating stricter environmental monitoring and regulations to mitigate these effects.

Adults living near fracking sites face significant health risks, including increased rates of respiratory issues, heart conditions, and certain types of cancer. Studies have linked air pollution from fracking, characterized by methane, benzene, and particulate matter emissions, to exacerbated asthma, heart problems, and an elevated risk of cancer. Additionally, exposure to fracking chemicals has been associated with kidney, liver, and nervous system diseases. The health risks are compounded by under-regulation in the industry, allowing for the use of many potentially harmful chemicals without sufficient public disclosure or safety measures .

Recent studies in Pennsylvania have shown alarming health risks for children living near fracking sites, particularly an increased likelihood of developing lymphoma. Research indicates that children residing within a mile of fracking operations are five to seven times more likely to develop this type of cancer compared to those living farther away. The presence of fracking wells and the intensity of gas development activities have been identified as key factors contributing to this heightened risk. Additionally, the same studies have revealed a strong association between proximity to fracking sites and severe asthma conditions in the population

The healthcare system faces significant financial burdens due to illnesses and diseases linked to fracking. The "Costs of Fracking" report by Environment America highlights that fracking creates health costs related to air pollution, contaminated water, and other environmental impacts. These costs can include expenses for treating conditions like silicosis, cancer, respiratory problems, and cardiovascular diseases. Fracking's environmental and public health impacts often translate into long-term financial liabilities, with many costs likely borne by the public sector. Additionally, the mishandling of fracking waste, including spills and leaks of toxic chemicals, contributes to these health risks and associated costs. The complexity and severity of these health issues underscore the need for more comprehensive regulatory oversight and financial accountability within the fracking industry

Fracking imposes a significant infrastructure burden on small communities, particularly in terms of road damage from heavy truck traffic, water resource strain, and the need for emergency and healthcare services. The transportation of water, sand, and chemicals for fracking requires heavy trucks, which can damage local roads, leading to costly repairs often shouldered by taxpayers. In regions like Texas and Pennsylvania, millions have been allocated for road repairs due to fracking-related damage. Additionally, the fracking process consumes vast amounts of water, placing stress on local water supplies, especially in arid areas or during droughts, which can lead to conflicts over water use between communities and fracking operations. Emergency services and healthcare facilities in small communities may also face increased demands due to accidents, spills, and health issues related to fracking activities

The cost burden to taxpayers due to the fracking industry encompasses subsidies, infrastructure repair, and healthcare costs. Taxpayers often bear the financial brunt of road repairs due to heavy truck traffic associated with fracking, which can run into millions of dollars. Water infrastructure may also need upgrades or expansions to meet the demands of fracking operations, with costs potentially passed on to local communities. Health care costs associated with treating conditions linked to fracking, such as respiratory issues, cancers, and other health problems, add to the public financial load. Moreover, the industry benefits from various subsidies, including tax breaks and financial incentives, which can shift the economic burden from the companies to the public. These combined factors represent a substantial financial obligation for taxpayers, highlighting the need for a reevaluation of the true cost of fracking on public resources and health

The fracking industry imposes substantial health, environmental, economic, ecological, and cultural costs. Health-wise, fracking is linked to increased rates of cancer, respiratory issues, and other illnesses in communities near drilling sites. Environmentally, it contributes to water and air pollution, soil contamination, and habitat fragmentation. Economically, the burden falls on taxpayers for infrastructure repairs, healthcare costs, and the indirect costs of environmental cleanup. Ecologically, fracking disrupts wildlife, leads to biodiversity loss, and affects water quality. Culturally, it impacts the way of life for communities, often leading to social strife and displacement. These multifaceted costs highlight the need for a comprehensive reassessment of fracking's overall impact on society and the environment.

Sources

01

"Fracking's Environmental Impacts: Water" By Les Stone / Greenpeace

02

Community-Led Science Uncovers High Air Pollution From Fracking in Ohio County" By Sarah Fecht

03

"Johns Hopkins study on fracking and premature births" Department of Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth

04

"Fracking Linked to Increased Cases of Lymphoma in Pennsylvania Children, Study Finds" By Jon Hurdle

05

"PA Department of Health Study on Fracking and Health Outcomes" By Erica Jackson

06

"Fracking Related Earthquakes" By Earthworks

07

"Contamination in North Dakota Linked to Fracking Spills" By Duke University

08

"Fracking Health Risks: New Evidence Sheds Light on the Dangers" By Steve Russell

09

"Fracking Linked to Increased Cases of Lymphoma in Pennsylvania Children, Study Finds" By Jon Hurdle

10

"The Costs of Fracking" By Environment America

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