Risks of fracking are “real and growing,” report warns

By Dana Drugmand

The human and environmental health risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, are indisputable and growing, according to a new report synthesizing nearly a decade of research.

The Fracking Science Compendium, ninth edition was released in October by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility, and adds to evidence of numerous problems posed by natural gas extraction through fracking and fracking-associated infrastructure, from pipelines and compressor stations to appliances such as gas furnaces and stoves. The report compiles data and conclusions from thousands of studies, including peer-reviewed papers, investigative media reports and government documents.

“Our examination uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health directly or without imperiling climate stability upon which human health depends,” the report states.

For years, scientists have warned that living in close proximity to a fracking operation elevates one’s risk of developing various diseases or health impairments, and the science substantiating these exposure-based outcomes has only gotten more robust over the years.

“This rapidly growing body of hundreds of studies supports the conclusion that fracking causes a variety of adverse health effects in fetuses, infants, children, and adults,” Dr. Ted Schettler, a retired physician and public health expert and science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, said in a webinar held this week to discuss the report results.