Wattenberg Speaking on Assessing the Health Hazards of Hydraulic Fracturing March 20

									Charlie Plain |
																			March 20, 2015

wattenbergBetsy Wattenberg, associate professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences (EnHS), will be speaking at St. Catherine’s University on Friday, March 20. Wattenberg’s presentation will be on “Assessing the Health Hazards of Hydraulic Fracturing.”

Since 2005, there has been a major increase in the use of hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas and oil in the United States. Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting large volumes of highly pressurized fluid–which contains a variety of physical and chemical constituents–through wells that extend thousands of feet below the surface of the earth and result in the release of gas and oil from newly created or reopened fractures in tight shale formations.

Major sites of hydraulic fracturing occur in various regions of the United States, including the Bakken shale play in North Dakota, where the primary resource is oil.

Hydraulic fracturing can use millions of gallons of fluid that contains toxic and carcinogenic constituent.

The constituents of hydraulic fracturing fluids present health risks to workers who may be directly exposed to them, and health risks to the general public health who may be exposed through air and water contamination.

EnHS researchers have developed a practical and adaptable tool for assessing the potential toxic effects of the constituents of hydraulic fracturing fluids. This public health tool can be used to help inform stakeholders about potential health hazards and to aid in the reformulation of less hazardous hydraulic fracturing fluids.

~ Post by Joy Archibald 

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