The debate over unconventional natural gas drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), commonly known as “fracking,” has focused on its potential effects on air and water quality and on public health in the surrounding communities that have directly witnessed the rapid growth of this drilling technology. Two recent examples include the ban on fracking in Denton, Texas, in a November 2014 referendum, and the decision by the Governor of New York to ban fracking based on the recommendations of the State Department of Health. The medical and scientific community has warned of the potential environmental risks posed by all stages of unconventional natural gas drilling operations, including site construction and preparation, drilling, fracturing, production, transportation, and waste storage and disposal. This article provides an overview of the potential environmental health effects of this technological advance in the oil and gas industry.
BY MICHELLE F. GILLIE
Debate Continues Over Environmental Health Effects
Focus on Fracking
Editor’s note: This article is adapted from a forthcoming AIHA white paper on the occupational and environmental health effects of fracking.