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.
A controversial oil and natural gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, uses many chemicals that can disrupt the body's hormones, according to new research accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's journal Endocrinology.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, are substances that can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system. EDCs can be found in manufactured products as well as certain foods, air, water and soil. Research has linked EDC exposure to infertility, cancer and birth defects.
The water samples from drilling sites had higher levels of EDC activity that could interfere with the body's response to androgens, a class of hormones that includes testosterone, as well as the reproductive hormone estrogen. Drilling site water samples had moderate to high levels of EDC activity, and samples from the Colorado River the drainage basin for the natural gas drilling sites had moderate levels. In comparison, little activity was measured in …
Industries such as fracking can benefit from better detection of methane emissions by capturing the gas and selling it, making methane control profitable.
Mary Ritter, chief executive of Climate-KIC, the European public-private partnership funding the project, said: “Methane is a significant driver of climate-change and a valuable resource. Fugitive methane emissions measurement services will help a wide range of operators to better manage their processes and increase their profitability.”
Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources, which is pioneering fracking in the UK, said: “We are delighted to partner with Climate-KIC on this important quest to validate a new generation of measurement technologies.”
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