Fracking chemicals are worth the worry

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The article “Tap the Gas Under Deer Lakes” (April 13 Forum) glosses over one area that scares me: the chemicals that go down the fracking well with the water and sand, and then return at the rate of 20 to 40 percent to the surface in settling ponds and into the air.

There is a good reason why fracking companies rarely talk about these 200 to 300 chemicals that get released into the air: They are dangerous. Their health and safety effects undercut two arguments for fracking — national security and jobs. At the April 2 forum at Deer Lakes High School the spokesperson for Range Resources said that the company has now released the whole list of chemicals used, and cited that as proof of its “transparency.” So, taking his cue, I would like to mention a sampler of the chemicals that get into the air around a fracking site:

1. Benzene — a known carcinogen as proven by the rubber workers of Akron, Ohio, over a period of 60 to 80 years (benzene gets released in tire production);

2. Xylene — a toxin and a flammable hydrocarbon;

3. Toluene — a toxin;

4. Formaldehyde — a toxin that gave me a bloody nose in high school biology as we dissected frogs preserved in formaldehyde.

These companies claim to be working on substitute, non-toxic chemicals for the fracking process, but that has been their answer for the last five to 10 years. Frankly, they should fire their chemistry departments. One company has found substitute non-toxins for fracking in, of all places, the food processing industry, while everyone else buries their head in the sand and continues to use toxins and carcinogens.



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