More scientific research of 'fracking' urged in Pennsylvania

Nov 12, 2012

Mercyhurst University public health scholar David Dausey, Ph.D., says Pennsylvania has opened its doors to fracking without doing the scientific research necessary to ensure the public's safety.

"Pennsylvania has opened up its doors to fracking in ways that many other states in the U.S. have not," said David Dausey, Ph.D., chair of the Mercyhurst University Public Health Department. "We don't know enough about the environmental and human health effects of fracking and, as a result, Pennsylvania has become the home of experimental fracking."

Dausey discusses his concerns in this month's episode of The Dausey File: Public Health News Today.

or fracking is a controversial method to extract or petroleum from subterranean shale by using pressurized water to blast it open. Proponents of fracking have noted its potential for helping the U.S. achieve while also stimulating the economy and creating jobs. These proponents have met stiff resistance from environmental groups that claim fracking can result in air and water pollution and have adverse human health effects.

The discovery of coupled with Pennsylvania's loose regulations and friendly relationship with the have made it so that Pennsylvania has become a mecca for oil and gas industry interested in fracking, Dausey said.

He noted that the oil and gas industry along with the government have made it difficult, if not impossible, to conduct comprehensive scientific research on fracking. "Until we have real scientific research about the environmental and of fracking, we should regard all current fracking practices as experimental," Dausey said.

He posited that people who live close to fracking sites have "every right to be concerned" about the potential of fracking.

Chemicals used in the fracking process contaminate millions of gallons of water, Dausey explained. Safe disposal is an environmental concern. Further, he said, the exact chemicals used in the process are unknown because of industry resistance to surrender trade secrets. Fracking also has the potential to contaminate drinking water from wells.

"There is a recent lawsuit in Pennsylvania that claims that Pennsylvania officials didn't report toxic chemicals found in drinking water near a gas drilling site," said Dausey. "If true, this raises a real concern about how Pennsylvania is regulating and monitoring the fracking occurring in the state."

Dausey noted that fracking isn't just a concern. It can also deliver methane emissions into the air; the exact levels are disputed but research suggests that it may result in acute and chronic health problems for people living close to a well. Dausey urged further research before fracking becomes more widespread.

"Keeping the public safe should be our number one priority," he said. "It should take priority over profits, over jobs, over everything."

Explore further: Weird weather lingers in Alaska's largest city

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

English tremors blamed on shale 'fracking'

Nov 02, 2011

(AP) -- The only company in Britain using hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas from shale rock said Wednesday that the controversial technique probably did trigger earth tremors in April and May.

Hundreds attend EPA hearing on Pa. gas drilling

Jul 22, 2010

(AP) -- Hundreds of people are attending a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency hearing in southwestern Pennsylvania on a controversial natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking."

Research digs deep into the fracking controversy

Apr 11, 2011

The turmoil in oil-producing nations is triggering turmoil at home, as rising oil prices force Americans to pay more at the pump. Meanwhile, there's a growing industry that's promising jobs and access to cheaper ...

Cleaner fracking

Oct 17, 2012

The technology that opened a wealth of new natural gas resources in the U.S. is producing millions of gallons of dirty water—enough from one typical gas well to cover a football field to a depth of 9-15 feet. Cleaning up ...

Hydro-fracking: Fact vs. fiction

Nov 05, 2012

In communities across the U.S., people are hearing more and more about a controversial oil and gas extraction technique called hydraulic fracturing – aka, hydro-fracking. Controversies pivot on some basic questions: Can ...

Report to UK government backs fracking

Apr 17, 2012

(AP) -- Exploratory work to extract gas by hydraulic fracturing in England should be allowed to resume even though the technique has caused earth tremors, a report commissioned by the government said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

New challenges for ocean acidification research

15 hours ago

Over the past decade, ocean acidification has received growing recognition not only in the scientific area. Decision-makers, stakeholders, and the general public are becoming increasingly aware of "the other carbon dioxide ...

Compromises lead to climate change deal

15 hours ago

Earlier this month, delegates from the various states that make up the UN met in Lima, Peru, to agree on a framework for the Climate Change Conference that is scheduled to take place in Paris next year. For ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.