Hiroko Tabuchi’s article in The New York Times on July 12 (“EPA Approved Toxic Chemicals for Fracking a Decade Ago, New Files Show”) highlights what scientists and the oil and gas industry have known for decades: Fracking fluid contains life-threatening toxins that have polluted most humans and non-human primates as well as water, air and soil.
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances are endocrine disruptors and carcinogens, causing preterm labor, birth defects, childhood leukemias, thyroid problems, testicular and kidney cancer, and more, according to the EPA.
The so-called Halliburton Loophole allows for use of these known toxins, since Dick Cheney proclaimed fracking fluid “proprietary”; they have been used in more than 1,200 wells in six U.S. states. (See Fracking with “Forever Chemicals” at psr.org).
Here in Colorado, industry continues to deny these and other dangers of fracking despite widespread illness and death and destruction of of the natural environment. It takes years for industry workers to get sick from fracking, similar to effects of Agent Orange, uranium mining and smoking. The EPA also lists elevated cholesterol levels as one of the health risks from PFAS; this boosts the profit of companies that make statins, while we often blame elevated cholesterol levels on eating red meat and on lifestyle choices.
PFAS are the same chemicals that DuPont used in Teflon, as documented in Mark Ruffalo’s film Dark Waters. Perhaps they are also in our surface and groundwater as they are in Garfield County.