Water pollution risk associated with natural gas extraction from the Marcellus Shale
Risk Analysis: An International Journal
28 December 2011 (ePub; printed August 2012)
Rozell DJ, Reaven SJ.
Using probability bounds analysis, this study assessed the likelihood of water contamination from natural gas extraction in the Marcellus Shale. Probability bounds analysis is well suited when data are sparse and parameters highly uncertain. The study model identified five pathways of water contamination: transportation spills, well casing leaks, leaks through fractured rock, drilling site discharge, and wastewater disposal. Probability boxes were generated for each pathway. The potential contamination risk and epistemic uncertainty associated with hydraulic fracturing wastewater disposal was several orders of magnitude larger than the other pathways.
Rapid expansion of natural gas development poses a threat to surface waters
Frontiers in Ecology & the Environment
06 Oct 2011
Sally Entrekin, Michelle Evans-White, Brent Johnson, and Elisabeth Hagenbuch
This paper discusses some of the risks to surface water from natural gas development.
Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective
Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal
20 Sep 2011
Theo Colborn, Carol Kwiatkowski, Kim Schultz & Mary Bachran
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.
An Exploratory Study of Air Quality near Natural Gas Operations
Human and Ecological Risk Assessment
20 Sep 2011
Theo Colborn, Kim Schultz, Lucille Herrick, and Carol Kwiatkowski
This study assessed air quality in western Colorado using weekly air samples taken before, during, and after drilling and hydraulic fracturing of a new natural gas well pad throughout the period of a year. The data showed numerous chemicals in the air associated with natural gas operations, most notably methane, ethane, propane, and other alkanes. Highest concentrations of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) were observed during the initial drilling phase. A literature search of the health effects of the NMHCs found that many had multiple health effects, including thirty that affected the endocrine system. The toxic solvent methylene chloride, which is not reported in drilling products, was detected 73% of the time, several times in high concentrations. The study concluded that the human and environmental impacts of NMHCs should be studied further given the close proximity of natural gas operations to the public.
Should Fracking Stop? Extracting gas from shale increases the availability of this resource, but the health and environmental risks may be too high.
Robert W. Howarth, Anthony Ingraffea & Terry Engelder
Point and counterpoint commentary provided by Howarth, Ingraffea, & Engelder on natural gas extraction of shale formations in Nature.
Chemical and physical characterization of produced waters from conventional and unconventional fossil fuel resources
Alley B, A Beebeb, J Rodgers Jr., JW Castleb
Characterization of produced waters (PWs) from unconventional gas and conventional oil.
Blind Rush? Shale Gas Boom Proceeds Amid Human Health Questions
Environmental Health Perspectives
01 August 2011
Charles W. Schmidt
This commentary looks at the potential of shale gas development in relation to its considerable potential for harm. Acknowledging both benefits and drawbacks, the author calls for health effects studies, stronger regulation, and an effective slow down of shale gas development until its risks are better understood.
Land Application of Hydrofracturing Fluids Damages a Deciduous Forest Stand in West Virginia
Journal of Environmental Quality
Mary Beth Adams
This case study identifies the need for further research to help understand the nature and the environmental impacts of hydrofracturing fluids to devise optimal, safe disposal strategies.
The Rush to Drill for Natural Gas: A Public Health Cautionary Tale
American Journal of Public Health
Accepted 23 Nov 2010, Published May 2011
Madelon L. Finkel, PhD, and Adam Law, MD
There is evidence that many of the chemicals used in fracking can damage the lungs, liver, kidneys, blood, and brain, posing a threat to public health.
Methane and the Greenhouse-Gas Footprint of Natural Gas from Shale Formations
Climatic Change Letters
14 Apr 2011 (04/14/2011)
Howarth RW, Santoro R, Ingraffea A.
Methane Contamination of Drinking Water Accompanying Gas-Well Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing
Stephen G. Osborn, Avner Vengosh, Nathaniel R. Warner, and Robert B. Jackson
This study documents systematic evidence for methane contamination of drinking water associated with shale gas extraction in aquifers overlying the Marcellus and Utica shale formations of northeastern Pennsylvania and upstate New York.