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Health Concerns and Hydraulic Fracturing

Posted by MANS Secretary on March 13, 2016 at 4:25 PM

After completing an assignment for my environmental health class, I decided to write a blog sharing my knowledge gained on an environmental health issue going on worldwide. As a part of my assignment, I was required to watch the film, Gasland 2 (2013). After watching this film, I found a new love for environmental health and decided to cover a unique topic, different from what posts are usually found on this site.

Gasland 2 (2013), is a documentary created by Josh Fox, a Pennsylvanian homeowner, who decided to travel the country in curiosity of the health risks associated with hydraulic fracturing or fracking, after he was proposed with a hefty check, in exchange to placing fracking equipment on his land. Hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling, creating a toxic mixture (by combining harmful chemicals sand, and water together) and injecting it into wells at an extremely high pressure to fracture rocks, causing the release of oil and gas.

With the advancement of technology, hydraulic fracturing has made way for a massive supply of gas and oil. Many may think this is great, as I first did; more oil and gas, means less gas prices. Well, in addition to this gain, we are faced with a rise in illness of those residing near fracking sites. As the concoction is injected into wells, this makes way for leaks that happen all too often. These leaks of fossil fuels can pollute our air and contaminate our land and water. According to Colborn et al. (2012), the toxic chemicals used in fracking can cause harm to the eyes, skin, sensory organs, lungs, and gastrointestinal system. Additionally, 40-50% of the chemicals used can affect the kidneys, the immune, cardiovascular, and nervous systems; 37% could affect the endocrine system; and 25% are carcinogenic (Colborn et al., 2012).

In 2014, there were over 1.1 million wells in the United States (Kelso, 2014). Imagine how many people are breathing the polluted air, or drinking the contaminated water. As a nurse, I took it upon myself to speak out against hydraulic fracturing and joined the movement and I am here to encourage you to do the same. In the nursing community, it is imperative that we remain informed of environmental issues that are associated with illness to allow for accurate diagnosis and effective care of our patients.

 

Please take the opportunity to visit the following sites (or feel free to search your own), to become active in the movement to ban hydraulic fracturing:

 

Earth Justice: http://earthjustice.org/advocacy-campaigns/unfracktured

The Food and Water Watch Organization: https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/campaign/ban-fracking-everywhere

The Gasland Website: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/

 

Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to take the time to watch the film Gasland and Gasland 2, it is so informative, you won’t regret it!

 

References

 

Colborn, T., Kwiatkowski, C., Schultz, K., & Bachran, M. (2012) Natural gas operations from a public health perspective. Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal, 17(5), 1039-1056.

 

Fox, J. (Director). (2013). Gasland: Part 2 [Documentary]. United States: New Video Group.

 

Kelso, M. (2014). Over 1.1 million active oil and gas wells in US. Retrieved April 2016, from FracTracker: http://www.fractracker.org/2014/03/active-gas-and-oil-wells-in-us/

 

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