7th Edition of Fracking “Compendium” Highlights Oil and Gas Risks, Harms December 14, 2020

Flare and an oil and gas production site in the Permian Basin in Texas ©2020 Julie Dermansky

By Barbara Gottlieb

We are so proud to share with you the 7th edition of the fracking “Compendium.” This unique volume compiles in-depth articles on fracking’s risks and harms to health, summarizes them in brief abstracts, and provides electronic access to that wealth of material.

The Compendium – its complete name is Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking – now encompasses close to 2,000 articles.  Categorized into 19 distinct sections and fully footnoted, it provides readers with an invaluable overview as well as easy access to source materials.

Among this year’s most important trends and findings: 

Oil and gas drilling solid wastes and waste water may contain radioactive materials. Radioactivity brought to the surface by oil and gas extraction is not federally regulated, nor are oil and gas waste streams required to be handled as hazardous waste. In addition, high levels of airborne radioactivity has been detected downwind from fracking sites.

Fracking imposes a disproportionate impact on “environmental justice” communities. For example:

  • A 2019 study of people living close to drilling and fracking operations in the states of Colorado, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas found strong evidence that minorities, especially African Americans, disproportionately live near fracking wells.
  • In southern Texas, non-white communities were frequently the sites of both fracking waste disposal and fracking-associated flare stacks.
  • Across California, gas-fired power plants are disproportionately located in disadvantaged communities, and more than three-quarters of the new oil wells drilled in California between 2011 and 2018 are located in low-income minority communities.

Much evidence has emerged to demonstrate that harms from fracking-related operations are dangerous in ways that cannot be mitigated through regulation.

This extraordinary volume is compiled and written by volunteers from Concerned Health Professionals of New York and edited by volunteers from PSR. Read our press release here.

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