Is Fracking Safe for Pennsylvanians?

Is Fracking Safe for Pennsylvanians?


Amid reports of rare cancers, water contamination, and other alarming issues, many Pennsylvania residents are likely concerned about the safety of living near a fracking site. Below is a brief review of some of the health and environmental research surrounding the fracking industry.

Chemicals Used in Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing fluids use a variety of chemicals. These substances typically make up a small percentage of the total volume of fracturing fluids. However, fracking operations use millions of gallons of water, so a small percentage can still be a large volume. Some are so powerful that it only takes a small amount to be a dangerous contaminant. For example, the Environmental Working Group noted that petroleum distillates are likely to contain benzene, a known human carcinogen that is toxic in water at levels greater than five parts per billion.

Fracking and Water Contamination

A 2013 study found that drinking water wells in northeastern Pennsylvania and southern New York were six times more likely to have contaminants if they were near fracking sites. According to the research, methane was more likely to be in wells within 1,000 feet of fracking sites. Ten wells near fracking sites had propane. In addition, ethane gas was 23 times more likely to be in homes located near fracking sites.

Other Environmental Concerns

In 2012, Ohio State regulators said that a dozen small earthquakes in Ohio almost certainly resulted from fracking. While these earthquakes were not strong enough to do damage, they may be evidence that fracking is having unintended geological consequences. Pennsylvania authorities have not reported earthquakes related to fracking.

Human Health Risks

In 2016, Yale School of Public Health researchers evaluated data on 1,021 chemicals used in fracking and found that many are linked to reproductive and developmental health issues. Many other chemicals had unknown toxicity due to insufficient information. Other research has examined the possible link between fracking and these health problems:

  • Preterm births, low birth weight, and high-risk pregnancies
  • Asthma exacerbation and other respiratory problems
  • Migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Sinus issues including chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS)
  • Skin disorders
  • Psychological and stress-related effects

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is investigating the health effects of fracking after dozens of young people have been diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma and other cancers near drilling sites.

Get Legal Help

If you believe that fracking has impacted your health, we can help. Over the past 25+ years, Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers has recovered substantial compensation for clients in all 67 counties. We have negotiated some of the largest personal injury settlements in Pennsylvania.

We know how to protect your rights when going up against a large fracking company. Call us or fill in our contact form to speak with a fracking injury lawyer right away. There is no obligation or fee for the initial consultation, and we will explain how to take action.