New study links fracking chemicals to cancer and infertility

gas well rifle

Gas well near Rifle, Colorado

The sampling for this study took place in Garfield County. Imagine that! Certainly did not see this coming. Bet the BOCC and Tetra Tech didn’t either. Kinda shoots their whole “naturally occurring” theory all to hell.

LA Times —
Chemicals Found In Water At Fracking Sites Linked To Infertility, Cancer

Water samples collected at Colorado sites where hydraulic fracturing was used to extract natural gas show the presence of chemicals that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer, scientists reported Monday.

The study, published in the journal Endocrinology, also found elevated levels of the hormone-disrupting chemicals in the Colorado River, where wastewater released during accidental spills at nearby wells could wind up.

Tests of water from sites with no fracking activity also revealed the activity of so-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs. But the levels from these control sites were lower than in places with direct links to fracking, the study found …

… Nagel and her colleagues tested samples of surface water and groundwater from Garfield County, Colo., which, with its approximately 10,000 wells, is a center of oil and gas development driven by fracking. The research team gathered multiple water samples at five natural gas sites where spills of fracking wastewater had occurred over the last six years, Nagel said.

The team tested for the presence of four different classes of endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Out of 39 water samples collected at five drilling sites, 89% showed estrogenic properties, 41% were anti-estrogenic, 12% were androgenic and 46% were anti-androgenic, according to the report. The samples were not tested for specific fracking chemicals or for concentrations of chemicals.

Water from control sites in Colorado and Missouri where there is no fracking showed some EDC activity, but the levels were lower than in the water samples from the Garfield County sites, according to the study.

The team also tested water samples from the Colorado River. These samples showed the presence of more EDC activity than the control samples, the researchers found …


Climate Progress —
Hormone-disrupting chemicals found in water at fracking sites
A study of hydraulic fracturing sites in Colorado finds substances that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer.

An analysis of water samples from hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking,’ sites found the presence of hormone-disrupting chemicals, according to a new study published Monday in the journal Endocrinology.

“With fracking on the rise, populations may face greater health risks from increased endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure,” senior author Susan Nagel told The LA Times.

The study tested surface water and groundwater samples in Garfield County, Colorado — one county at the center of the U.S. fracking boom — and found elevated levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs. The chemicals have been linked to infertility, birth defects, and cancer.

Dr. Meg Schwarzman, associate director of the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry at UC Berkeley, told The LA Times that “even low levels of anti-estrogenic or anti-androgenic activity could potentially alter development in ways that are meaningful.”

The researchers gathered samples from five sites where there have been natural gas production spills over the last six years and compared those to control sites where there is no fracking activity. The fracking sites “exhibited more estrogenic, anti-estrogenic, or anti-androgenic activities than reference sites with limited nearby drilling operations,” leading researchers to conclude that “natural gas drilling operations may result in elevated EDC activity in surface and ground water.”

The first study to show the link between fracking and endocrine-disrupting activity, Nagel said the findings are “something the country should take seriously.” Of the 750 chemicals that have been reported to be used in fracking operations, more than 100 are known or suspected to be endocrine-disrupting, according to MedPage Today …


MedPage Today —
Fracking Sites Tied to Hormone Disruptors

… Fracking Spill Sites Had Twice the EDCs

Water samples from drilling sites in Garfield County, Colo. that experienced fracking spills or accidents showed moderate to high levels of the endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) activity, while samples from sites with little drilling showed very little activity, wrote Susan C. Nagel, PhD, of the University of Missouri in Columbia, and colleagues.

“We found no significant anti-androgenic activity at any of our control sites and significant anti-androgenic activity at all of the spill sites,” Nagel told MedPage Today.

On average, water at fracking spill sites had double the amount of total endocrine-disrupting activity compared with control sites, she said.

Nagel characterized this association as strong, and said the study is the first to show an association between fracking and endocrine-disrupting activity.

Around 750 chemicals have been reported to be used in hydraulic fracking, including more than 100 known or suspected to be endocrine-disrupting …


The study —
Estrogen and Androgen Receptor Activities of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Surface and Ground Water in a Drilling-Dense Region


Post Independent —
County gas patch ground zero for new study

… Theo Colborn, a gas industry critic from Paonia who is also an endocrinologist and president of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange.

Colborn acknowledged that she met Nagel in the mid-1990s and has encouraged her to do more research into the impacts of drilling on human hormone health. But she said she was not directly involved with the study.

Colborn hailed the study as an important breakthrough in research about the impact of chemicals used not only by the natural gas industry, but other industry as well, on human health.

“This is a very important paper, and it just might make people wake up to the fact that the only laws we have in place to protect us use very crude health end points,” Colborn said of measures to protect humans from high doses of chemicals that can cause serious disease, birth defects or death.

“There are a lot of other health effects that we have to live with that are certainly annoying and that need to be taken into account,” she said.

Because of an exemption for fracking operations from regulatory acts such as the Clean Water Act, the EPA can’t even address it, said Colborn.

She said it’s also important not to refer to Nagel’s work as a “fracking study” per se, but rather one that addresses the impacts of oil and gas development beyond just the fracking phase of the process.

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