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Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Linked to Fracking Found in Colorado River

The Colorado River flows through the town of Rifle in Garfield County, Colorado. Photo (taken 1972) by David Hiser,courtesy of U.S. National Archives, Flickr/Creative Commons.

The Colorado River flows through the town of Rifle in Garfield County, Colorado. Photo (taken 1972) by David Hiser, courtesy of U.S. National Archives, Flickr/Creative Commons.

This week, more evidence came in that hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) poses potentially serious risks to drinking water quality and human health.

A team of researchers from the University of Missouri found evidence of hormone-disrupting activity in water located near fracking sites – including samples taken from the Colorado River near a dense drilling region of western Colorado.

The Colorado River is a source of drinking water for more than 30 million people.

The peer-reviewed study was published this week in the journal Endocrinology.

Fracking is the controversial process of blasting water mixed with sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure so as to fracture rock and release the oil and gas it holds. It has made previously inaccessible fossil fuel reserves economical to tap, and drilling operations have spread rapidly across the country.

The University of Missouri team found that 11 chemicals commonly used in the fracking process are “endocrine disrupters” – compounds that can affect the human hormonal system and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and infertility.

“More than 700 chemicals are used in the fracking process, and many of them disturb hormone function,” said Dr. Susan Nagel, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health at the University of Missouri School of Medicine and a co-author of the study, in a news release.

“With fracking on the rise, populations may face greater health risks from increased endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure.”

The research team collected samples from ground water and surface water from sites in Garfield County, Colorado, where fracking fluids had accidentally spilled, as well as from the nearby Colorado River, into which local streams and groundwater drain. They also took samples from other areas of Garfield County where little drilling has taken place, as well as from a county in Missouri where there had been no drilling at all.

They found that the samples from the spill site had moderate-to-high levels of endocrine-disrupting activity, and the Colorado River samples had moderate levels.  The other two samples, taken from areas with little or no drilling activity, showed low levels of endocrine-disrupting activity.

The new findings add urgency to calls for moratoriums on fracking until the risks have been fully assessed and regulations and monitoring put in place to safeguard water supplies and public health.

Due to the so-called “Halliburton loophole,” the oil and gas industry is exempt from important requirements under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, and states have been slow to fill the regulatory gap.

Colorado, in particular, should exercise the utmost caution.

According to a report by Ceres, a Boston-based non-profit organization that educates investors about corporate environmental risks, 92 percent of Colorado’s shale gas and oil wells are located in “extremely high” water stress regions, defined as areas in which cities, industries and farms are already using 80 percent or more of available water.

Adding contamination risks to the high volume of water fracking wells require – typically 4-6 million gallons per well – argues strongly for a precautionary approach to future development and a pause in existing production until the full range of environmental health risks can be assessed.

But Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has said the state will sue any city that bans fracking within its borders.  Indeed, in July 2012, the state sued the front-range town of Longmont, which had issued such a ban.

A statement about the new findings of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in waters near fracking sites issued by Concerned Health Professionals of New York, and posted here, concludes with this warning:

“These results, which are based on validated cell cultures, demonstrate that public health concerns about fracking are well-founded and extend to our hormone systems. The stakes could not be higher. Exposure to EDCs has been variously linked to breast cancer, infertility, birth defects, and learning disabilities. Scientists have identified no safe threshold of exposure for EDCs, especially for pregnant women, infants, and children.”

And environmental health expert Sandra Steingraber writes in a letter posted at the same site:

“[I]t seems to me, the ethical response on the part of the environmental health community is to reissue a call that many have made already:  hit the pause button via a national moratorium on high volume, horizontal drilling and fracking and commence a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment with full public participation.”

Related posts in Water Currents:

Fracking’s Threats to Drinking Water Call for a Precautionary Approach

As Oil and Gas Drilling Competes for Water, One New Mexico County Says No

South African Anti-Fracking Activist Calls for Global Alliance

Sandra Postel is director of the Global Water Policy Project, Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and author of several books and numerous articles on global water issues.  She is co-creator of Change the Course, the national freshwater conservation and restoration campaign being piloted in the Colorado River Basin.

Comments

  1. George Crisp
    March 30, 12:42 am

    Paul,

    The article links to the paper in the journal “Endocrinology”:
    “Estrogen and Androgen Receptor Activities of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Surface and Ground Water in a Drilling-Dense Region”
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2013-1697

    so there is nothing hidden or contentious if the reference source is clearly cited and represented accurately.

  2. Phil
    Guam
    March 25, 2:39 am

    Quite frankly I am surprised by this article. It does not meet the standards of what I would expect for something with the Nat Geo label on it. The reason – it is short on facts.

    I am not a proponent or opponent of fracking because quite frankly, I haven’t done much research on the topic. The problem here is that the article discusses the finding of “medium-high levels” of hormone-disrupting chemicals but never cites the actual numbers or where they fall in a comparison to a regulatory or health standard.

    Normal drinking water contains a large number of things that can be harmful in the right quantities. Naturally occurring radioactivity, arsenic, lead, lithium, perfluorinated compounds, etc. to name a few.

    If you expect to bring attention to a potentially serious issue, please add some more detail and/or perspective to the levels to provide credibility.

  3. Drew DePaul
    Chicago
    March 24, 11:03 am
  4. Rick
    Canada
    January 15, 3:07 pm

    Sandra, I note a very clear pattern here where you reply to (rebut) every comment that suggests that the article and your comments on it may be flawed or not well balanced, but you have not once replied to any of the “anti-fracking” people, many of whom have chosen to deliver all nature of misinformation in their comments. Great way to loose your credibility and Shame on you!

  5. Kathleen Rugel
    United States
    January 15, 3:00 pm

    Oil & Gas exploration, including fracking, carries innate risks which will continue as long as we support dependency on current technologies. Meanwhile, the polarization within the fracking debate is not helping to find solutions to address this complex issue. While some O&G corporations may in fact be hiding behind the Halliburton Loophole, there are others who share both a concern for their livelihood and a desire to protect against environmental degradation. These individuals and corporations are poised to understand the hazards inherent in these extraction methods and steps which might be taken to effectively lower environmental, economic and personal damage. They perhaps have the greatest potential to organize and facilitate changes from within the industry which would be impossible from the outside. Their expertise and understanding of the vulnerabilities inherent in maneuvering the wide range of hydrogeological settings in which these hydrocarbons reside cannot be overstated. Successful industry-driven programs such as the escrow fund set up by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board have collected voluntary contributions from 95% of state natural oil and gas producers and royalty owners which have helped to clean up 13,000 abandoned well sites in OK. Improperly capped and/or poorly sealed well casings greatly increase the potential for both groundwater and surface water contamination by vertical leakage under both natural and man-made stressors. This voluntary program is intelligent, effective and forward thinking. Hopefully, similar initiatives will be generated from within this field which can protect individuals, livelihoods and the environment until we find less risky energy solutions. Finally, the combined experience and input of individuals and corporations within this industry would be invaluable in helping to identify potential groundwater and surface water vulnerabilities which may in turn help the scientific community formulate more robust objectives for adaptively managing current practices.

  6. Jim
    Utah
    January 6, 4:20 pm

    I think this, along with pollution in general, is going to be found to be the major reason mental illness has been increasing so dramatically in recent years. Greed is going to be our ruin.

  7. Mark River Peoples
    January 4, 10:45 pm

    Whenever a process such as fracking that uses chemicals that effect the endorine system should be halted immmediately. Come on. We are talking about humanity here.Life and love over money.

  8. Sarah Arnold
    Hattiesburg,Ms
    January 3, 2:14 pm

    Sandra,this is amazing,I went to that rivers 3 years ago in the summer.
    Thanks,for bringing the memory back.

  9. Anthony Gutierrez
    Pueblo, CO
    January 2, 10:35 am

    As Sandra says “balance is in the eye of the beholder” and I’m sure that she feels that the report is balanced! some of the comments call for total independence from oil, great what technology will allow for the energy and manufacturing needs for the world to allow humans to survive? As for the hormone-disrupting chemicals chemicals I’m sure that Missouri has the same geological make up as Colorado River basin with all of the same possible reasons for contaminant or naturally occurring compounds.

  10. Lai Wing Kong
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
    December 31, 2013, 12:24 am

    My drinking water recently is yellowish, it produces substantial unknown “algae” after days.

  11. Bob Tackett
    East Coast
    December 30, 2013, 6:33 am

    Folks, moratorium is not necessary. All we need to do is close the exemption to clean water act and they will have to stop. It’s so gross that the “Halliburton Loophole” was ever allowed. Talk about political patronage. The gulf war and fracking, thanks Bush/Cheney.

  12. James McDonald
    North Carolina
    December 29, 2013, 4:29 pm

    Industry apologists like Jim clouding the issue by their suspiciously motivated refutations only serve to divert attention (perhaps purposefully) from the fact that we are slowly driving ourselves to extinction. The question is: Does the human race have a death wish?

  13. Paul Andrew Anderson
    United States
    December 29, 2013, 2:10 pm

    Demand drives supply! Fossil fuel extraction is global, and the methods of their madness will not end with fracking. Believing that you need fossil fuels to live comfortably on Earth is a product of blind enculturation and mindless desire, not logic or reason. If you own a car (for one example among dozens), you are personally and directly responsible for all that occurs on Earth, regarding the extraction of fossil fuels, no matter the method. Addiction always drives people to extreme measures! If you want to stop the madness, become the change you expect to see in the rest of the world; alter your lifestyle to exclude fossil fuels: They will stop producing it if no one buys it! Demand drives supply!

  14. valerie wells
    United States
    December 26, 2013, 11:44 pm

    When will we realize that our most precious resource is water, without which life is unsustainable? I hope we wake up and understand what is at stake here.

  15. PeterK
    December 24, 2013, 11:59 pm

    over the past 20 years i’ve noticed NatGeo moving from the center to the left more and more. this article is indicative of that. It is not balanced nor totally objective.
    here are a couple of links about the chemicals used in fracking
    http://www.fracfocusdata.org/
    http://www.energyfromshale.org/hydraulic-fracturing/hydraulic-fracturing-fluid
    http://intellectualtakeout.org/library/chart-graph/typical-chemical-additives-used-frac-water

    I look forward to an article on NatGeo about the devastation that wind energy is imposing on our bird and bat populations

    • Sandra Postel
      December 25, 2013, 10:28 am

      Peter, thank you for writing and sharing these links. I would submit, though, that “balance,” like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder. It doesn’t seem balanced to me that the hydraulic fracturing industry is exempt from safe drinking water and other regulations to which other industries must comply.

  16. Jeff A
    Colorado
    December 24, 2013, 8:29 am

    At some point, does not society have to look at the higher ups who organize and direct this activity as sociopaths?

  17. lburgler
    NYC
    December 22, 2013, 11:29 pm

    We need a cheap dollar to be “competitive” but all the oil we import would choke our economy overnight if the dollar were to depreciated. So we’ve been cornered by our own logic.

    I personally don’t believe in the competitiveness obsession. I think there are many ways around it. Somehow we find trillions to pump up balance sheets and spend on the military, but we can’t actually build wind farms and fix our roads?

    The inexorable logic of global ‘competition’ has come to mean that our little people need to be as wretched as other peoples’ little people for us to grow again, but there are creative ways around that.

  18. Diana L. Wright
    United States
    December 22, 2013, 5:56 pm

    As time goes by and more research is done regarding the heath hazards of hydrofracking, the evidence is stacking up on the side of science and not the oil industry. There are no new studies – independently run, that dispute the dangers of extracting fossil fuels from the earth. Every week there is another “accident” be it spill, ruptured pipeline, contaminated water that tells us we are on a collision course for disaster. Drilling into the earth’s surface DOES cause earthquakes, contaminates the water, lowers property values, makes people, animals and vegetation unhealthy and in many cases, die. It’s not like we don’t have viable alternatives. Sustainable, renewable energy is powering many European countries. Germany is a beautiful example of what can be accomplished when the oil industry doesn’t own the government. The USA has the topography to supply all the renewable energy (wind, solar, water, tidal) we need if money is spent on building THAT infrastructure instead of building pipelines for the Canadian Tarsands, transportation of LNG, LPG and oil, and drilling thousands of wells for hydrofracking. It’s win-win for all but the oil industry. They need to get into another line of work.

  19. Steve Thompson
    December 22, 2013, 2:54 pm

    Here is an article that looks at another key environmental risk associated with fracking:

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.ca/2013/09/the-failure-of-fracking-betting-our.html

  20. jao
    December 22, 2013, 1:45 pm

    As stated by other comments on this discussion, Fracking and it’s associated activities are dangerous to our most precious resources, water and air. Yes energy comes with risks, but scientific proof and people’s lives being ruined by this activity speaks whether humans using fossil fuels are more important than sustaining life earth. And we MUST stop the talking and start embracing renewable and sustainable energies.

  21. Thomas Hart
    United States
    December 22, 2013, 11:31 am

    OK on Fracking:
    1. The pro-fracking people here should tell their audience if they are being paid for their opinion. I be a few are paid publicists trying to country the anti-fracking movement.
    2. Every single time you ask people “what are you putting down that hole”, they say, we it is “proprietary” or “trade secret”, when in actuality they are dumping hazardous waste they can’t put anywhere else (more profit that way). They fought even having to tell anyone in CA, until it was required.
    3. If you were really wanted domestic oil, you should be kissing my you know what. People like me control billions of gallons of oil in CA, and we won’t let you touch it until you can do so responsibly with complete disclosure, which all oil companies seem to be currently incapable of.
    3. PROVEN that on more than one occasion the fracking chemicals have leaked to the surface.
    4. Explore what you can about Chevron’s litigation history, they will BUY every law firm on the planet before letting one of them win in court.
    Hey oil companies, stick your head in the oil sands, and pretend you will always get your way. I would be shorting their stocks, since we will all be in electric vehicles pretty soon.

  22. Carole
    uk
    December 22, 2013, 9:22 am

    Pure greed from the already rich and the consequences will ruin our world. So sad considering what a beautiful planet this is.

  23. Jack
    December 22, 2013, 2:43 am

    I think you should include information and how the process of fracking works. I find it hard to belive that these chemicals made their way into the river what did they do float up into the source?

    I think this is another enviromental attack on drilling and oil production and gas in the United States. We keep haveing theses one minded articles keep misleading people and we will continue to buy gas and oil from middle east who support war against us and supply other organizations who hate us.

    Educate the reader on the process too…..
    http://fracfocus.org/hydraulic-fracturing-process

  24. Dave Bowers
    Parachute Colorado
    December 22, 2013, 2:03 am

    I would also like to point out that women who take birth control pills are subjected to much high levels of EDC’s than what is listed in this report.

  25. Dave Bowers
    Parachute Colorado
    December 22, 2013, 2:00 am

    As a licensed Waste Water Treatment Specialist, and after reading the actual report…. The levels of EDC’s that they have identified are “moderate” on the scale between non-detectable and the minimum recommended acceptable levels as researched by the US EPA, in association with the Safe Drinking Water Act. This information is copied directly from the EPA site concerning the extensive years long study that they have done on EDC’s..
    “EDCs can end up in wastewater through a variety of routes. Wastewater can contain natural human hormones, hormones from pharmaceutical products like birth control pills, and potential EDCs present in detergents, soaps, plastics, food, and personal care products such as fragrances. EPA researchers have documented that chemical mixtures in some wastewater effluents (or outflows) can result in feminization of fish populations downstream of treatment plants. Additional ecological impacts of these effluents, and of effluents from other sources such as from concentrated animal feeding operations, are still being assessed.”
    EDC’s have been a topic of discussion for years now in relation to the waste treatment water effluent that is discharged into the Colorado River by hundreds of licensed waste water treatment facilities, and illegal discharges from private septic system leach fields. The parts per billion figures listed in the study in this article are way below the estimated EDC’s generated by discharge from Waste Treatment Facilities caused by people throwing prescription medications down their toilets at home.
    An even higher carcinogen bearing contaminant is the disinfection by-products that result from mandatory EPA chlorination of public drinking water. Chlorine kills bacteria and viruses in water, but in the process of doing so creates high levels of the carcinogens like Total Tryhalomethanes and Haloactetic acids. Having said all that, the EPA has determined that even with the established MCL’s in their regulations for those compounds, a person would have to consume four gallons of water per day for over 90 years to suffer any ill effects. These studies are often times fodder for those who would like to be alarmist or make a name for themselves or perhaps earn some notoriety as a “scientist” when in fact they are usually second or third year students participating in a funded project. If that project were to conclude that there was no definite link or danger to the study subject, the study would end and so would their funding for research. For those of you who are truly concerned, do some research of your own instead of believing the first thing somebody you have never heard of before scares the beejezus out of you. (including guys like me)
    There are far more important health risks involved with our water than fracking, most of which occurs anywhere from one to two miles or more below ground water levels. It has also been shown that the naturally occurring salt water at those depths that has been co-mingling with fossil fuels under ground for millions, perhaps billions of years naturally contains EDC’s at levels above what they list in their report. Again, look it up for yourself.

    • Sandra Postel
      December 22, 2013, 9:43 am

      Thank you for adding this information about discharges of EDCs from wastewater treatment facilities and private septic systems, which, as you point out are also of concern. EDCs and their biological effects (including, as the EPA quote you provide points out, the feminization of fish) are of concern both because of their widespread release into the environment and the lack of knowledge about “safe” levels of human exposure. If fracking activities are adding EDCs to water supplies along with POTWs, septic systems, etc., it suggests more reason to ensure the industry’s operations are regulated adequately, which they are not.

  26. Kerry Jaggers
    Austin, Texas
    December 21, 2013, 8:50 pm

    Anyone interested in this topic should be watch the two excellent “Gasland” films. Especially the governor of Colorado. And then, as was repeatedly suggested to the proponents in the films, if they still think it is safe, they should drink a glass of water from the tap of one of the vast number of people whose watersheds have become so polluted by fracking that you can set their faucets aflame with a pocket lighter. To my knowledge, not a single person has been willing to accept the challenge.

  27. Jim
    December 21, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Sandra, appreciate your comments and respectfully beg to differ when you say your article does not say there is proven cause-effect.

    Your headline states “hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to fracking found in Colorado River”. In simplest terms the study identified no specific chemicals and therefore is is impossible to have found chemicals linked to fracking or any other specific source in the Colorado River samples. The study measured ‘activities’ of nonidentified chemicals in the Coloraod River. Which is something else entirely from what your title states.

    If that was a simple oversight, I encourage you to alter your title to something accurate that reflects rather than exaggerates the study content.

    What you have done is make my point for me by taking the misleading innuendo presented in the article and magnify and codify it as supposedly proven result within your title. The average reader will take your title as the take home from the study, no matter what follows. So I guess your title verifies my concern that the journal article is not diligent enough about presenting things in a manner that prevents even the technically astute from being confused about what the study represents and what it does not represent.

    Would you agree the volume of any potential o&g EDC waste reaching the Colorado River in the county can at most be a tiny fraction of the certain EDC waste delivered via wastewater effluent and other sources from dozens of communities within the enormous drainage area upsteam from the study site? And thus it is more probable that the measured EDC activity in the Colorado River samples comes from upsteam sources having nothing to do with fracking.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • Sandra Postel
      December 22, 2013, 9:10 am

      Jim, thanks again for commenting. I want to be very clear that there’s only an association here, not proof of cause-and-effect. The take-home is we need more data and study to understand why this finding occurred. The term “linked” in my headline implies an association, not proof of cause-and-effect. Perhaps if companies doing the fracking had to release information about all the chemical compounds they’re injecting we could make better headway on this knowledge base.

  28. Jim
    December 21, 2013, 12:02 pm

    It is worth reading the actual journal article before jumping to the unsubstantiated conclusions to be easily drawn from always alarmist news accounts and headlines that exaggerate the original material. I read the journal article and was shocked to see there was actually no proof in the article just broad innuendo. Go see for yourself.

    The study did NOT determine any chemical identifications in the samples they collected. Did frac chemicals cause the increased EDC activities they measured? We have no idea because the authors did not do the IDs to say with certainty what chemicals are at play. For all we know is was the nearby septic systems. Why skip such an obvious and critical step? Does that not seem highly suspect that they did all the sophisticated lab work but purposely did not identify which chemicals were in the water? Or maybe they did and those results were too “inconvenient” to publish. We may never know. But they were happy to let the reader assume it MUST be among those twelve chemicals they did lab studies upon. Most news accounts and those happy to repeat convenient and clearly misleading information are making that giant and absurd leap. Where is the science.

    The authors also could not be bothered to test for any of the many easily and commonly measured oil and gas impact chemical markers that, if collected, would have shown if oil and gas contamination is present in the samples or not. Why not?

    Most problematic is the author’s clearly biased and wholly unfounded assumption that EDC activity in Colorado River water (recipient of millions of gallans per day of sewage plant effluent from dozens of plants and other primary EDC chemical sources) has elevated EDC activity from fracking. Horribly irresponsible “science” at best and purposeful alarmism at best. But of course they are also currently trying to raise funds to do more study. Hmmm…”how can we get publicity that might help us rake in more funds?” Now people are erroneously or happily telling their lie that there is now evidence of fracking impact on the colorado river (drinking water source for 30 million people). Baloney. No such proof in this cursory study. And disingenuous for authors to lead readers to such a conclusion. People should be upset with these authors for overstating conclusions about such a critical topic for which they have no proof. It merely confuses the issue and by association smears the good science being done.

    • Sandra Postel
      December 21, 2013, 1:07 pm

      Jim, thanks for your comment. You are correct that there’s no cause-effect proven here; nor does my article say there is. But there is an association that merits further study. And yes, EDCs are tyically not removed from conventional wastewater treatment processes, so other sources could be at play. But, the fact that the oil and gas lobby worked so hard (with our former vice president) to get their production activities exempted from federal safe drinking water requirements says a great deal. If fracking is safe, and the chemicals used are safe, why does the industry seek these exemptions? When it comes to pubic trust resources like our drinking water, the burden of proof should be upon industry to show that their activities are not harmful to public health. This is a cost of doing business, and yes, setting monitoring and reporting requirements for fracking operations will increase the cost of the oil and gas produced, which it should. All the hidden – and no-so-hidden — subsidies given to fossil-fuel production merely delays the transition to safer renewable sources of energy and more energy efficient cars and transportation systems.

  29. Margie Rodgers
    Planet Earth
    December 21, 2013, 7:29 am

    How much more damage must be done before we put a stop to fracking and bring attention to renewables? It’s a sad commentary that so many are blinded by the slick ads and the money promised by the gas industry. But to poison our earth with chemicals which in turn poison us and our children and our children’s children (not to mention using our precious water to do so) just seems ridiculously short sighted. Hit the PAUSE button on fracking indeed is the only smart and humane thing to do at this point. Put our attention on renewables and let’s start healing the earth, ourselves and our future. No more fracking!

  30. Mark Denler
    Colorado
    December 21, 2013, 2:56 am

    Just about every type of mining operation has environmental risks. As Americans we consume 50% of worlds resources but only make up 7% of the world population. I know people want to blame oil and gas however everyone should look inwards at everyday choices. Everything consumed has an environmental cost. There needs to be consumption paradigm shift in this country. Why does the average American consume 102% of their earnings in a given year? Unless people wise up and consumer less nothing is going to change. The government should give the people a choice. Just like with food, organic or non organic. The choices at all retail gas stations should be gasoline from unconventional drilling (fracking) or gasoline from conventional drilling (non fracking). My guess is that no one wants to play $10/ gallon.

    • Sandra Postel
      December 21, 2013, 1:15 pm

      Mark, couldn’t agree with you more about the need to reduce our overall consumption. Yes, everything produced has an environmental cost –which is why we have environmental laws and regulations. With fracking subject to so few regulatory requirements and largely exempt from the federal safe drinking water act, we are flying blind into an unknown territory of risks. This is both unwise and unnecessary.

  31. Taxpayer1301
    United States
    December 20, 2013, 10:05 pm

    Only fools and an industry besotted with ill-gotten profits would think that you can inject into the ground and spill onto the surface witches’ brews of toxic chemicals and endrocrine disrupters and not have them be found in our water. This is more evidence of that very catastrophe. Time for our compromised and near-sighted leaders to wake up. Better yet and far more likely–time for individuals to start saying No! to fracking, fossil fuels, and corporate personhood and corporate “rights.”

  32. K. Roberts
    New York
    December 20, 2013, 9:45 pm

    When are we going to learn? When it’s too late, and the entire world and its living inhabitants have been destroyed? The evidence is mounting- fracking causes irreversable harm that we cannot keep denying. The gas industry needs to be made to adhere to the same rules that other industries are regulated by, and they need to disclose the many poisons they are injecting into our earth. Better yet, they need to STOP injecting poisons into our earth, and stop contaminating the most precious resource that we have-our water!

  33. Brian Tremain
    December 20, 2013, 8:50 pm

    Without a direct link to implement some change, little will happen. This is good at raising awareness, but it’s already a mute point that fracking isn’t the best thing we could be doing. We need an actionable step, not reiterating of facts we seem unable to change. Good article though.

  34. Hugh Kimball
    December 20, 2013, 3:49 pm

    But, but, but the gas industry constantly tells us there are no dangers, that it is all perfectly safe. I guess we cannot believe the TV ads we see and the full page advertisements we see in the newspapers.

    And why does Gov. Hickenlooper think that fracking would be great in cities? It really isn’t good for the more open areas, but it makes no sense in cities whatever.

  35. Joanne Corey
    United States
    December 20, 2013, 3:45 pm

    The scientific evidence of negative environmental and health impacts from unconventional fossil fuel extraction, processing, transport, use, and waste disposal continues to mount. We should curtail it and concentrate on renewable energy instead.

  36. Heidi S Gogins
    United States
    December 20, 2013, 3:43 pm

    These findings come as no surprise to those of us who’ve been working on this issue since the word “fracking” first reached our ears.
    In the 21st century, the most precious resource on the planet will be clean drinking water. Surely, anyone not blinded by greed or gas industry propaganda touting “clean natural gas” understands that fracking is guaranteed to squander and poison this most precious resource. If we want any sort of decent lives for future generations, we must recognize the insanity of the fracking process and stop it before it further degrades the climate, the water, and the communities it has invaded.

  37. Forest
    NY
    December 20, 2013, 3:34 pm

    The Colorado River provides sustenance for not only Colorado but every state it crosses. As the article says, 30 million people rely on this water to be clean and drinkable, not poisoned and dead. This is so horrific, the phrase, once you frack, you can’t go back, isn’t just a chant, it’s a fact. Our governments are systematically destroying us, one glass at a time, and we stand by idle, wishing someone would do something about it, not really believing the truth due to the onslaught of industry propaganda aka lies. Think. Then ACT! Stop it NOW!!

  38. Patricia Goldsmith
    United States
    December 20, 2013, 2:55 pm

    This study confirms that we can’t inject highly toxic chemicals into or near groundwater with impunity. Hormone disrupting chemicals are very dangerous to our health, since hormones orchestrate all our body’s functions, keeping everything in balance. But more importantly, we are in an era of climate change, when our water supplies are at high risk. Using millions of gallons of water for fracking, which takes carbon out of the ground and puts it into the atmosphere, is nothing short of suicidal. We need to put the brakes on our carbon use, not push the pedal to the metal the way we are. Democratic and Republican leaders alike support a dying status quo. Where is a leader with the courage to admit that our planet is at risk and we need to stop what we’re doing and mobilize ourselves as never before to confront this species-level threat?

  39. Madison East
    United States
    December 20, 2013, 2:03 pm

    This article is precisely why its crucial to uphold moratoria across the nation on high volume, horizontal drilling and fracking in order to understand the true, scientific affects of this industry on our human health, our human communities, & the resources on which our lives depend.