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The Compendium 4.0: Health Risk of Fracking

When understanding health related questions about fracking, most experts turn to the Compendium, a peer-reviewed report published by Physicians for Social Responsibility, PSR. The 2016 release and fourth edition, boast 20o peer-reviewed studies of health research and 44 original studies that cover health, water quality, and air quality. As time passes and more oil and gas drilling covers the Nation's landscape, studies have doubled from year to year, providing a comprehensive directory on the controversial methods of fracking.

Earlier, we shared the third edition of the Compendium, calling out compelling information that raised alarm over fracking and those who are exposed to development. This latest Compendium has centered focus on methane emissions, and well water contamination. Incidents have greatly increased with the aggressive rate of extraction seen in the last decade, resulting in a greater insight to the breath of health-related effects.

In this fourth edition, health risks from infrastructure are explored in even greater depth, and, in light of the ongoing Aliso Canyon disaster, have been expanded to include risks from gas storage. Many other relevant concerns— namely, oil trains, cryogenic and liquefaction facilities such as Cove Point on the Maryland shore, processing and fractionation complexes, import/export terminals—are not included here. Plans have been laid to include these issues in future editions.

Most importantly, The Compendium is generally a volunteer project and has no dedicated funding; it is written utilizing the benefit of the experience and expertise of numerous health professionals and scientists who have been involved in this issue for years.

Below is a link to the full report. It dives into an array of issues that go beyond occupational and public health concerns. You can find studies that include, radioactive waste, climate change, risks of earthquakes, and even inaccurate job claims, and property values.

What the Compendium underscores in its mere existence is a greater cost of extraction than simply a price per cubic foot, or cost per gallon. The price we pay for extraction extends to the hospital emergency room, doctor's office, the real estate office, as well as state and county budgets left with the burden of cleanup and mitigation. Drill pads are permanent scares on the landscape that require indefinite attention and funding to maintain.

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