Government exists to protect
Republicans in North Carolina want to make it a felony to disclose fracking chemicals – Salon.com
Just when we thought we were making the first steps toward transparency in fracking — in the form of EPA indicating it might require frackers, at long last, to reveal the names of the chemicals they blast into the ground in order to extract oil and gas — three GOP state senators in North Carolina stepped in to put a stop to all that.
The senators, who seemed to have taken a page out of the ag-gag book, last week introduced a bill that would slap any individual who disclosed information about confidential chemicals with a felony charge. Such individuals could include fire chiefs and health care providers, who might require access to the information in order to respond to emergencies. Environmental groups see the provision allowing for easy access to that information as a good thing, but worry about the bill’s harsh terms for making sure those in-the-know keep it to themselves.
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From the web site, Lenin2u.
Shale needs to be fracked using a mixture of hot water, sand, and poisonous chemicals, the composition of which fracking companies claim to be proprietary secrets, and disclosing them would make them less competitive. However, scientists who have analyzed fracking fluid discovered the following substances common to diesel fuel: Benzene, Ethylbenzene, Toluene, Xylene, Naphthalene, Methanol, Formaldehyde, Ethylene glycol, Glycol ethers, Hydrochloric acid, Sodium hydroxide. Most fracking companies surveyed by a 2010 Congressional Committee admitted that diesel fuel is part of their fracking mixture. Where diesel fuel was not used, chemical mixtures includes high levels of benzene, a tiny amount of which can poison millions of gallons of water.
Theo Colburn, PhD, director of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange, Colorado, identified 65 chemicals that are probably used in fracking fluids. These included benzene, glycol-ethers, toluene, and ethanol, all of which have been linked to health problems when human exposure is too high. In 2012, ShaleTest visited many fracking sites in North Texas, monitoring ambient air using stainless steel summa canisters. Results showed the presence of the known carcinogen benzene. “It is unacceptable that the natural gas industries are ignoring the devastating impacts they have on citizens and the environment”, commented Susan Sullivan, board member of ShaleTest.
Another study in 2012, led by Lisa McKenzie, Ph.D., MPH, of the Colorado School of Public Health, concluded that air pollution caused by fracking may contribute to acute and chronic health problems for those living near natural gas drilling sites. The study, based on three years of monitoring, found benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene in the air around the frack sites. Other chemicals included heptane, octane and diethylbenzene ‘The greatest health impact corresponds to the relatively short-term, but high emission, well completion period’. The study said that this was due to exposure to trimethylbenzenes, aliaphatic hydrocarbons, and xylenes, all of which have neurological and/or respiratory effects, including eye irritation, headaches, sore throat, and difficulty in breathing. … ‘We also calculated higher cancer risks for residents living nearer to the wells as compared to those residing further’, the report said. ‘Benzene is the major contributor to lifetime excess cancer risk from both scenarios’.