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Studies and Report

Hydraulic fracturing and Children’s health by PEHSU (Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit)


Children are more vulnerable to environmental hazard. Research has also shown that children are not able
to metabolize some toxicants as well as adults due to immature detoxification processes.


Confirmed: California Aquifers Contaminated With Billions Of Gallons of Fracking Wastewater

“News of billions of gallons of fracking wastewater contaminating protected aquifers relied on by residents of the Central Valley for drinking water could not have come at a worse time. Adding insult to injury, fracking is a water-intensive process, using as much as 140,000 to 150,000 gallons per frack job every day, permanently removing it from the water cycle. Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, says these new revelations prove state regulators have failed to protect Californians and the environment from fracking and called on Governor Jerry Brown to take action now to prevent an even bigger water emergency in drought-stricken California.”

EPA’s – Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources

At the request of Congress, EPA is conducting a study to better understand any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing in drinking water and ground water. The scope of the research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing.

Clean Water Action and the Poudre Canyon Group of the Sierra Club discovered 1,000 Spill/Release Reports available on COGCC’s website for Weld County, dated 8/28/2003 – 1/05/2012 (the COGCC website only lists the 1,000 most recent reports).

“1. 43% of spills have impacted/contaminated groundwater.
2. 3.1% of spills have impacted/contaminated surface water.
3. 43% of spills have resulted in or been caused by berm failures.
A sampling of the 1,000 “Incident Spills Report” show the following estimates of fluid contamination:
Up to 824,600 gallons of oil have been spilled and “unrecovered” in Weld County
Up to 383,600 gallons of produced water have been spilled and “unrecovered” in Weld County
Up to 547,400 gallons of “Other” fluid have been spilled and “unrecovered” in Weld County. (“Other” may include hydraulic fracturing fluids.)
Spill/Release Reports are available on COGCC’s website:

EPA allowing oil companies to inject drilling and fracking waste into aquifers below Northern Colorado

Energy companies are being allowed to pollute drinking water aquifers with oil and gas drilling and fracking waste in Northern Colorado and Denver

Natural Resource Defense Council Press Release: Report: Five Primary Disposal Methods for Fracking Wastewater All Fail to Protect Public Health and Environment

Waste water released into surface bodies of water

The Case of Mr. Anderson’s Contaminated Water Well and the Contamination of the Laramie-Fox Hills Aquifer in Weld County, CO

“Colorado’s largest aquifer, the Ogallala, was contaminated by an EPA known frack fluid and thermogenic gas from a mining operation that uses fracking processes.”


Groundbreaking Study Finds Cancer-Causing Air Pollution Near Fracking Sites

“The air quality near fracking sites and other gas and oil operations may not be safe to breathe, according to a new study Air Concentrations of Volatile Compounds Near Oil and Gas Production: A Community-Based Exploratory Study, published today in the journal Environmental Health.”

CDPHE’s Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) conducted Erie, CO Air Emissions Case Study

“Average, speciated non-methane organic compounds (SNMOCs) concentrations in Erie were captured at 10 times those found in agricultural areas of higher oil and gas well pad density than in downtown Denver.”


The Endocrine Disruption Exchange: An Exploratory Study of Air Quality near Natural Gas Operations

“This exploratory study was designed to assess air quality in a rural western Colorado area where residences and gas wells co-exist. Sampling was conducted before, during, and after drilling and hydraulic fracturing of a new natural gas well pad. Weekly air sampling for 1 year revealed that the number of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) and their concentrations were highest during the initial drilling phase and did not increase during hydraulic fracturing in this closed-loop system. Methylene chloride, a toxic solvent not reported in products used in drilling or hydraulic fracturing, was detected 73% of the time; several times in high concentrations. A literature search of the health effects of the NMHCs revealed that many had multiple health effects, including 30 that affect the endocrine system, which is susceptible to chemical impacts at very low concentrations, far less than government safety standards. Selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were at concentrations greater than those at which prenatally exposed children in urban studies had lower developmental and IQ scores. The human and environmental health impacts of the NMHCs, which are ozone precursors, should be examined further given that the natural gas industry is now operating in close proximity to human residences and public lands.”


Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective:  TEDX, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Paonia, CO, USA
October 2011

“The technology to recover natural gas depends on undisclosed types and amounts of toxic chemicals. A list of 944 products containing 632 chemicals used during natural gas operations was compiled. Literature searches were conducted to determine potential health effects of the 353 chemicals identified by Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers. More than 75% of the chemicals could affect the skin, eyes, and other sensory organs, and the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Approximately 40-50% could affect the brain/nervous system, immune and cardiovascular systems, and the kidneys; 37% could affect the endocrine system; and 25% could cause cancer and mutations. These results indicate that many chemicals used during the fracturing and drilling stages of gas operations may have long-term health effects that are not immediately expressed.”


CU Study shows air emissions near fracking sites may pose health risk

“The report, based on three years of monitoring, found a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene.”

“Our results show that the non-cancer health impacts from air emissions due to natural gas development is greater for residents living closer to wells,” the report said. “The greatest health impact corresponds to the relatively short-term, but high emission, well completion period.”

“We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells as compared to those residing further [away],” the report said. “Benzene is the major contributor to lifetime excess cancer risk from both scenarios.”


Cooperative Institute for Research in Environment Sciences (CIRES) study: Oil and Gas Wells Contribute Fuel for Ozone Pollution

“At our test site in Weld County, we found that oil and natural gas operations are the dominant wintertime source of certain gasses, called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), that act as precursors—‘starting ingredients’—for ozone pollution,” said lead author Jessica Gilman, a CIRES research chemist working at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory.”

“Average levels of propane were higher than the range of values reported for 28 U.S. cities. For example, they were four to nine times higher than in Houston, Texas, and Pasadena, California.”

“The oil and gas footprint extends beyond Weld County, though. When the researchers took measurements near Fort Collins and in Boulder, north and west of the BAO tower respectively, they also detected emissions attributed to oil and natural gas there.”

“Propane and ethane are fairly long-lived in the atmosphere, so they travel far.  No matter where you are in the Front Range, you can still see the signature of VOC emissions from oil and natural gas operations.”


Lisa McKenzie Study:  Human health risk assessment of air emissions from development of unconventional natural gas resources.
February 2012

“Residents living ≤ ½ mile from wells are at greater risk for health effects from NGD than are residents living >½ mile from wells. Subchronic exposures to air pollutants during well completion activities present the greatest potential for health effects. The subchronic non-cancer hazard index (HI) of 5 for residents ≤ ½ mile from wells was driven primarily by exposure to trimethylbenzenes, xylenes, and aliphatic hydrocarbons. Chronic HIs were 1 and 0.4. for residents ≤ ½ mile from wells and >½ mile from wells, respectively. Cumulative cancer risks were 10 in a million and 6 in a million for residents living ≤ ½ mile and >½ mile from wells, respectively, with benzene as the major contributor to the risk.”

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH): Worker Exposure to Silica during Hydraulic Fracturing

“The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identified exposure to airborne silica as a health hazard to workers conducting some hydraulic fracturing operations during recent field studies.”


Joe Logan Director of Agricultural Policy Ohio Environmental Council explains how fracking affects the food we eat

“Charts showed that heavy metals and chemicals migrate into air, soil, and water. These contaminants can diminish crop yield, affect the health of livestock, and imperil organic certification. Current laws are not sufficient to protect the food supply or food producing areas from the effects of fracking.”



USGS: Fracking Is The Cause of Earthquakes In Oklahoma

“There have been a lot of theories about fracking causing earthquakes. But now, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says that fracking, is indeed, to blame.”

Wastewater Injection Triggered Oklahoma’s Earthquake Cascade

“One of Oklahoma’s biggest man-made earthquakes, caused by fracking-linked wastewater injection, triggered an earthquake cascade that led to the damaging magnitude-5.7 Prague quake that struck on Nov. 6, 2011, a new study confirms.”

USGS: Injection of fracking wastewater in deep disposal wells may have triggered spate of earthquakes

“In preliminary findings, our scientists cite a series of examples for which an uptick in seismic activity is observed in areas where the disposal of wastewater through deep-well injection increased significantly. These areas tend to be in the middle of the country – mostlyin Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Ohio,” David Hayes, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior.



Fracking Brought Spikes In Road Deaths

“Communities with the highest intensity of natural gas drilling have seen increased rate of crime, motor vehicle fatalities and even sexually transmitted diseases. While the influx of energy workers hasn’t significantly increased population figures…”


“Roadways used by oil and gas traffic will experience decreased overall pavement/concrete service life, resulting in the need for more frequent, and thicker, overlays and reconstruction sooner than would otherwise be expected under current use. Increased heavy and large truck traffic will have significant safety impacts to both drivers and bicyclists.”



NASA Confirms A 2,500-Square-Mile Cloud Of Methane Floating Over US Southwest

“So what’s the cause? Leaks, says Kort, the study’s author. A bunch of leaks. From wells, from pipelines, from processing plants, maybe even from the coalbeds themselves, where they broach the surface. Nearly one trillion cubic feet of natural gas, i.e. methane, is sucked out of the basin every year, and it all flows through infrastructure”

NOAA Confirms High Methane Leakage Rate Up to 9% from Gas Fields, Gutting Climate Benefit

“Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have reconfirmed earlier findings of high rates of methane leakage from natural gas fields. If these findings are replicated elsewhere, they would utterly vitiate the climate benefit of natural gas, even when used to switch off coal.”


Natural gas from fracking could be ‘dirtier’ than coal, Cornell professors find

“Cornell Study reveals that as much as 8% of the methane in shale oil leaks into the air due to fracking, twice the amount released by conventional gas production.”


EPA reports on greenhouse gas emissions

“Methane (CH4) is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas emitted in the United States from human activities.”

“Pound for pound, the comparative impact of CH4 on climate change is over 20 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period.”

“Natural gas and petroleum systems are the largest source of CH4 emissions from industry in the United States. Methane is the primary component of natural gas. Some CH4 is emitted to the atmosphere during the production, processing, storage, transmission, and distribution of natural gas. Because gas is often found alongside petroleum, the production, refinement, transportation, and storage of crude oil is also a source of CH4 emissions.”