How Fracking is Contaminating our Air and Water, and Imperiling the Health of Millions

2018 Fracking Report details Increased Risks of Asthma, Birth Defects and Cancer

image of fracking contaminating air and water

The 2018 edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking updates the rapidly expanding evidence indicating harm to health from fracking and methane infrastructure.

The most authoritative study of its kind reveals how hydraulic fracturing is contaminating the air and water – and imperiling the health of millions.


All together, findings to date from scientific, medical, and journalistic investigations combine to demonstrate that fracking poses significant threats to air, water, health, public safety, climate stability, seismic stability, community cohesion, and long-term economic vitality. Emerging data from a rapidly expanding body of evidence continue to reveal a plethora of recurring problems and harms that cannot be sufficiently averted through regulatory frameworks. There is no evidence that fracking can operate without threatening public health directly or without imperiling climate stability upon which public health depends. In the words of investigative journalist Andrew Nikiforuk:

Industry swore that its cracking rock technology was safe and proven, but science now tells a different story. Brute force combined with ignorance … has authored thousands of earthquakes … [and] called forth clouds of migrating methane…. The science is complicated but clear: cracking rock with fluids is a chaotic activity and no computer model can predict where those fractures will go. The regulatory record shows that they often go out of zone; extend into water; and rattle existing oil and gas wells, and these rattled wells are leaking more methane.

We close with an observation by Maryland physician Judy Stone, MD, whose recent essay in Forbes speaks for all who have contributed to this Compendium:

Fracking profits go to private industry but the public — families and communities — bear the costs of the many health complications from the drilling.

There is growing evidence of a variety of health problems being associated with fracking.
Common sense dictates that drinking and breathing cancer-causing agents will take their toll. The correlation is too strong to ignore, especially when we have other, cleaner energy options. For our safety and that of future generations, we should not allow the new administration to sell off public lands, nor allow drilling on our land, and should ban fracking completely.


  • ‘The Harms of Fracking’: New Report Details Increased Risks of Asthma, Birth Defects and Cancer, rollingstone, 2018/03/13.
  • Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction), psr, March 2018.
  • Fracking industry site near Greers Ferry Lake in Quitman, Arkansas in the Fayetteville Shale region featured image credit © Julie Dermansky.

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