Fracking and Birth Defects
In the future of business ethics, fracking will be a centerpiece of everything that can go wrong ethically. We will begin discussing secret government discussions culminating in legislation totally at odds with preserving human health and safety. We will then discuss the incredible diversion of public lands into private hands for the benefit of the industry. Chapters will be written about how after any federal interference with the industry was disposed of, the industry proceeded to capture or destroy the state regulatory bodies. But the main focus will be on how the industry successfully sealed off access to any information on what it was actually doing.
In short, a business ethics train wreck.
The part I can’t predict will be how much damage the process will eventually cause.
Fracked Up: New Study Links Birth Defects To Living Near Fracking Site | Crooks and Liars
Living near hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — sites may increase the risk of some birth defects by as much as 30 percent, a new study suggests. In the U.S., more than 15 million people now live within a mile of a well.
The use of fracking, a gas-extraction process through which sand, water and chemicals are pumped into the ground to release trapped fuel deposits, has increased significantly in the U.S. over the past decade.
Five years ago, the U.S. produced 5 million barrels of oil per day; today, it’s 7.4 million, thanks largely to fracking.Supporters of the industry say it creates jobs and spurs the economy, while critics say its development is largely unregulated and that too little is known about pollution and health risks.
“What we found was that the risk of congenital heart defects (CHD) increased with greater density of gas wells — with mothers living in the highest-density areas at greatest risk,” Lisa McKenzie, a research associate at the Colorado School of Public Health and the lead author of the study, told Al Jazeera.The study examined links between the mother’s residential proximity to natural gas wells and birth defects in a study of more than 124,842 births from 1996 to 2009 in rural Colorado.
The study found that “births to mothers in the most exposed (areas with over 125 wells per mile) had a 30 percent greater prevalence of CHDs than births to mothers with no wells in a 10-mile radius of their residence.”