Why Health Experts Should Push for Information on Fracking

By path2positive

Some forms of energy are, well, not as healthy as others. The public's catching on to the differences between energy choices, and the health impacts of these sources are hard to ignore. But what happens when energy companies withhold information about their products to the public? Clearly, this makes it more difficult to learn the true downsides of these energy sources. It turns out that natural gas companies have been concealing the "proprietary" mixtures of their fracking chemicals from the public. A new study from a new study from the journal Energy Policy reveals that, since 2013, fracking companies have increasingly limited disclosure of the chemicals they use. This veil of secrecy makes it nearly impossible for public health experts to gain a clear understanding of population exposures.

"The public should demand 100% transparency when it comes to injecting chemicals that could impact health and future drinking water supplies," says Mary Greene, deputy director at the nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project, in the InsideClimate News article below. "Safer fracking ingredients exist and elimination of disclosure exceptions would encourage the move away from harmful chemicals toward greater public accountability. Regulators should close this loophole immediately and enforce against those who withhold such information."

As health leaders we can position ourselves at the forefront of these discussions, pushing to understand what chemicals these companies are using for the sake of protecting public health.


What Chemicals Are Used in Fracking? Industry Discloses Less and Less

InsideClimate News

By Lisa Song I November 24, 2015

Since 2013, energy companies that report their hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the FracFocus website have become less forthcoming, increasingly citing the use of proprietary compounds to limit disclosure, according to a new study from the journal Energy Policy.

The paper, written by two Harvard University researchers, is the most comprehensive analysis of FracFocus to date. They examined more than 96,000 disclosure forms filed between March 2011 and April 2015, highlighting trends and offering suggestions to improve the site's accuracy and completeness.

FracFocus is the nation's largest dataset on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. It was launched in 2011 as a voluntary tool for oil and gas operators, and later adopted by individual states to fulfill their chemical disclosure regulations. More than 20 states currently require companies to report the fracking compounds they use, through FracFocus.

The secrecy surrounding fracking chemicals, and the proprietary mixtures used to create special fracking "products," have long been at the forefront of the debate over fracking's public health impacts.

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