Physicians For Social Responsibility, PSR, have released their third study on the risks and harms of fracking and unconventional gas and oil extraction. In an attempt to boil down the 151 page document, we will provide a synopsis of the findings in a series of posts. PSR have included more than 100 new studies in the peer-reviewed literature to support their conclusion that fracking operations pose severe threats to health, both from water contamination and from air pollution. This unfunded study is on a track to be updated approximately every six months with new scientific data becoming available from the many active fracking operations.
Despite this emerging body of knowledge, industry secrecy, and government inaction continue to thwart scientific inquiry, leaving many potential problems—especially cumulative, long-term risks—unidentified, unmonitored, and largely unexplored. This problem is compounded by non-disclosure agreements, sealed court records, and legal settlements that prevent families and their doctors from discussing injuries and illness. As a result, no quantitative and comprehensive inventory of human hazards yet exists.
It's becoming increasingly clear that proponents of unconventional natural gas development are simply ignoring or denying scientific data. Basing claims of the industry practices being "safe" has been defined as wishful thinking. Furthermore, the compendium concludes that there is no amount of regulations that could properly protect the public from the risks the industry imposes.