Quantcast

EPA Report Finds Nearly 700 Chemicals Used in Fracking

Energy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report on Friday that found there are nearly 700 chemicals used in the fracking process. The EPA completed the analysis by looking at more than 39,000 FracFocus disclosures in the last two years. The FracFocus Chemical Disclosure Registry was developed by the Groundwater Protection Council and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission in response to public concern about the contents of fracking fluid, says the EPA report.

The report has been heavily criticized for its reliance on a voluntary reporting system and for not probing deep enough into the toxicity of these chemicals. Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

"FracFocus is a publicly accessible website where oil and gas production well operators can disclose information about the ingredients used in hydraulic fracturing fluids at individual wells," says the EPA report. However, only 20 states require fracking companies to use FracFocus "to publicly disclose the chemicals they inject into wells," says The Hill. Additionally, the report found that 10 percent of all chemicals used during the fracking process were not disclosed.

Despite all these limitations, the findings were still alarming. The report found that the median number of chemical additives per fracking job was 14. Hydrochloric acid, methanol, and hydrotreated light petroleum distillates were the most common additives, being reported in 65 percent of all disclosures, says The Hill. Even in low doses, these are known to cause skin irritation, chemical burns, headaches and blurred vision, according to the Center for Disease Control and California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. At higher concentrations, exposure to these chemicals can cause shortness of breath, blindness and possibly death.

The report has been heavily criticized for its reliance on a voluntary reporting system and for not probing deep enough into the toxicity of these chemicals. "Launched in 2011 and delayed repeatedly, the study was supposed to provide definitive answers to the public's concerns about fracking's possible effect on drinking water," says InsideClimate News. "But pushback from the oil and gas companies and the EPA's weakness relative to the multi-billion dollar fossil fuel sector narrowed the project's scope."

Specifically, the $29 million initiative "will not include baseline studies that provide chemical snapshots of water before and after fracking," says InsideClimate News. "Such data is essential to determine whether drilling contaminated water or whether toxic substances were present before oil and gas development began." However, EPA researcher, Tom Burke, assured The Hill that “This report really focuses on the first step, and that is collecting information about what is used and the volumes of what is used. As part of our broader assessment, we will definitely be focusing on toxicity, though."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Watch Viral Video: Nebraska Man Asks Oil and Gas Commission One Simple Question: ‘Would You Drink It?’

Fighting Dark Money to Restore Our Democracy

U.S. Makes Historic Climate Pledge Ahead of Paris Talks, Joins EU, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Yulia Lisitsa / iStock / Getty Images

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Many people follow the lacto-vegetarian diet for its flexibility and health benefits.

Read More Show Less

By Jared Kaufman

Eating a better diet has been linked with lower levels of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. But unfortunately 821 million people — about 1 in 9 worldwide — face hunger, and roughly 2 billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, according to the U.N. World Health Organization. In addition, food insecurity is associated with even higher health care costs in the U.S., particularly among older people. To help direct worldwide focus toward solving these issues, the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals call for the elimination of hunger, food insecurity and undernutrition by 2030.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Healthline

Made from the freshly sprouted leaves of Triticum aestivum, wheatgrass is known for its nutrient-dense and powerful antioxidant properties.

Read More Show Less

mevans / E+ / Getty Images

The federal agency that manages the Great Barrier Reef issued an unprecedented statement that broke ranks with Australia's conservative government and called for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Guardian.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

A powerful earthquake struck near Athens, Greece and shook the capital city for 15 seconds on Friday, causing people to run into the streets to escape the threat of falling buildings, NBC News reported.

Read More Show Less
U.S. government scientists concluded in a new report that last month was the hottest June on record. Angelo Juan Ramos / Flickr

By Jessica Corbett

As meteorologists warned Thursday that temperatures above 100°F are expected to impact two-thirds of the country this weekend, U.S. government scientists revealed that last month was the hottest June ever recorded — bolstering calls for radical global action on the climate emergency.

Read More Show Less
Rod Waddington / CC BY-SA 2.0

By John R. Platt

For years now conservationists have warned that many of Madagascar's iconic lemur species face the risk of extinction due to rampant deforestation, the illegal pet trade and the emerging market for the primates' meat.

Yes, people eat lemurs, and the reasons they do aren't exactly what we might expect.

Read More Show Less