Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chemistry in the news: Fracking increasing methane concentrations in water supplies.

New questions have been brought up about the potential health risks that can arise from the technique known as fracking. Fracking is a method of mining for fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil. The process involves projecting a mixture of sand,water, and chemicals in large quantities into rock in order cause fracturing to release fossil fuels. Methane is found naturally in some wells but scientists have found that methane concentrations in Pennsylvanian wells within a kilometer of fracking sites were six times higher than in wells that were further away. Studies also showed that the chemical composition of the methane found in the wells matched the composition of the natural gas that was collected from the fracking sites. Responses from oil and gas companies claimed that studies have not tested enough wells and that local wells with naturally high concentrations of methane are not being considered. Scientists in response tested more wells and found similar results. Wells that were closer to fracking sites were found to have greater methane concentratrions than wells that were farther away. During the study, about twelve houses showed water supplies with methane concentrations that were greater than 28 milligrams per liter of water which according to professionals are grounds for immediate remedy. There is not much research that has been done on the long lasting effects of methane exposure.

Resource article:

Here is a video I found of a woman who's drinking water contains so much methane that it can ignite when lit.


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  2. Prof Robert Oswald, co-author of the first study into the links between hydraulic fracturing and sickness in farm animals, said his findings of death and deformities in american livestocks are so alarming that a moratorium should be imposed on the industry until its impact on food safety can be assessed..... According to Professor Oswald, an expert on molecular medicine at Cornell University, compiled 24 incidents across six US states where livestock on farms adjacent to drilling sites died or suffered illness including reproductive and neurological problems potentially following exposure to fracking chemicals.”................................ Robyn O’Brien grew up in Texas and was recruited by Enron and Exxon out of business school, You can follow Robyn on Twitter @unhealthytruth