After a decade of research, here’s what scientists know about the health impacts of fracking

This is important scientific health information that you need to know to protect your family. It’s also important to get this information to policy makers. For example, Alberta and British Columbia are embarking on major LNG developments. The bottom line is these developments will further frustrate our efforts to meet our climate targets.

“This should be of serious concern to policymakers interested in protecting public health.”


Credit: Mark Dixon/Flickr

Fracking has been linked to preterm births, high-risk pregnancies, asthma, migraine headaches, fatigue, nasal and sinus symptoms, and skin disorders over the last 10 years, according to a new study.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a process of extracting oil and gas from the Earth by drilling deep wells and injecting a mixture of liquids and chemicals at high pressure.

The study, which was published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health in February, looked at several hundred scientific articles about the community and health impacts of fracking. The researchers focused on the design of those studies to ensure that the ones they included in their study were scientifically valid, then summarized what’s been learned about the industry in the last decade.


Credit: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public

They found evidence that water pollution, air pollution, and soil contamination caused by the industry have been linked to adverse health impacts through both exposure to toxic chemicals released during fracking, and through increased stress and anxiety caused by the increased light, noise, and truck traffic associated with fracking.

“As a fossil fuel, natural gas extraction and use is contributing to climate change, of course,” Gorski said, “but before conducting this study, I didn’t realize the amount of of evidence we have that it may be even worse than coal.”

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Lobbied 22 times, Trudeau government proposes to let Alton Gas dump saltwater into Shubenacadie River


Mi’kmaq activist Dorene Bernard stands on the shores of the Shubenacadie River, a 72-kilometre tidal river that cuts through the middle of Nova Scotia and flows into the Bay of Fundy, in Fort Ellis, N.S. on July 31, 2018. Photo by Andrew Vaughan/CP

An Alberta oilpatch company met with federal officials 22 times last year to lobby them about major fossil fuel projects. Ottawa is now drafting rules to specifically allow the company, AltaGas, to dump saltwater into a major Nova Scotia river.

The government says the proposed rules would reduce risks to “fish, fish habitat, and human health from fish consumption” by creating limits on brine release into the Shubenacadie River as part of the Alton Gas project, which federal officials would then oversee.

The federal government is pushing a plan that would allow an energy company to dump saltwater into a tidal river over the objections of local Indigenous communities, @Lindsayleejones reports, as eyebrows raised over Ottawa’s priorities.

A government spokeswoman also said that it was in the early stages of consultations on the matter and would ensure high environmental standards on any decision.

But the Trudeau government’s proposed regulation and the direct benefit it would provide one company is raising eyebrows in light of the Trans Mountain pipeline imbroglio and SNC-Lavalin affair.

In all three cases, the Trudeau government attempted to propose policies under heavy lobbying pressure from the companies involved, Texas-based Kinder Morgan, Quebec-based SNC-Lavalin, and now Alberta-based AltaGas. MORE

Baltimore files lawsuit demanding Monsanto pay to clean up PCB chemicals in city waterways

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Baltimore is asking a federal judge to force agriculture chemical company Monsanto to pay for cleanup of environmental toxins known as PCBs, following more than a dozen mostly West Coast cities and states that have filed similar lawsuits in recent years.

The lawsuit announced Tuesday doesn’t specify damages, but City Solicitor Andre Davis accused the company and two former divisions it sold off of causing tens of millions of dollars in damages.

The lawsuit says the contamination has caused monetary damages to be determined at trial.

Polychlorinated biphenyls, a type of man-made chemicals used widely in paints, inks, lubricants and electrical equipment until they were banned in 1979, have been linked to cancers and harm to immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems in humans and animals. MORE

Fossil fuels are bad for your health and harmful in many ways besides climate change

Fossil fuels are bad for your health and harmful in many ways besides climate change

Pumpjacks dot the Kern River oil field outside Bakersfield, Calif. Credit: James William Smith/Shutterstock.com

Many Democratic lawmakers aim to pass a Green New Deal, a package of policies that would mobilize vast amounts of money to create new jobs and address inequality while fighting climate change.

Led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, they are calling for massive investments in  and other measures over a decade that would greatly reduce or even end the nation’s overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels.

As experts in environmental geographysociology, and sustainability science and policy, we wholeheartedly support this effort. And, as we explained in a recently published study,  is not the only reason to ditch fossil fuels.

While conducting our research, we constantly encounter new evidence that depending on fossil fuels for energy harms people and communities at every point along fossil fuel supply chains, especially where coal, oil and natural gas are extracted.

The , oil and  industries are also major contributors to human rights violationspublic health disasters and environmental devastation. MORE

Taseko Mines tells court Ottawa erred in rejecting New Prosperity mine

The company argues the project — twice-rejected at the federal level and opposed by the Tsilhqot’in First Nation — was denied based on ‘invalid’ toxic water seepage estimates

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Taskeo Mines, proponent of the embattled New Prosperity mine — a $1.5-billion open-pit gold and copper mine, that has been rejected twice by the federal government — is back in court once again.

The decades-long battle to build a mine in the sacred territory of the Tsilhqot’in First Nation is entering a new chapter as Taseko appeals to a federal court to revive an application for judicial review rejected by a court tribunal.

The application, filed in 2017, claimed the federal government erred in accepting information from Natural Resource Canada regarding the seepage rate of toxic water from the proposed New Prosperity mine and significant environmental threats to Fish Lake and Wasp Lake. MORE

Voting down the Glypho-Slate

How  dedicated group of community members fought back against glyphosate use in their community — and won!

San Lorenzo River

As a retired teacher and organic gardener in Ben Lomond, California, he decided to join the Environmental Committee for the local San Lorenzo Valley Water District. The small district serves 7,900 connections with mostly surface water.

Six months into the appointment things were going well. Then, Rick Moran began reading through a proposal titled “French Broom Management Plan for the Olympia Watershed.” He realized that the Water District had used, and was going to again use, the controversial herbicide glyphosate in a “cut and dab” process to kill about 19,000 invasive broom plants. Worse yet, the herbicide would be used near two well heads. MORE

 

Ellen Page takes aim at Alton’s controversial underground gas storage plan

Ellen Page takes aim at Alton Gas project

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HALIFAX – Actor Ellen Page is once again harnessing her massive online following to advocate for environmental issues in her home province: this time, publicly opposing a controversial project that would eventually see natural gas stored in huge underground caverns north of Halifax.

Alton Natural Gas LP intends to use water from the Shubenacadie River to flush out underground salt deposits to create the caverns east of Alton, N.S., then pump the leftover brine solution into the river. The planned has raised the ire of Indigenous protesters who have set up a permanent protest camp near the waterway.

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation in nearby Indian Brook argue that the project will damage the 73-kilometre tidal river, which runs through the middle of mainland Nova Scotia. MORE

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