New Evidence on Concerns About Fracking and Health
Canadian Medical Association Journal April 15, 2014
While scientists and area residents have been sounding the alarm about the health impacts of shale gas drilling for years, recent studies, a legal decision and public health advocates are bringing greater legitimacy to concerns.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves drilling vertically, then horizontally, into shale rock to obtain methane or natural gas. Water, chemicals and sand are blasted into the drilled wells, creating cracks in the adjacent rock and releasing the gases into the well. The process requires dozens of chemicals for various purposes, including reducing heat and suspending drill cuttings to avoid clogs.
Fracking is booming in northeastern BC, where more than 7300 shale gas wells have been drilled, as well as in Alberta and New Brunswick. The provinces of Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia have imposed moratoriums on fracking until more evidence about its effects on the environment and health is available.