A new study has found that fracking poses “significant” risks to people’s health and the environment and that the practice should be banned in the EU until reforms are made. It also warned that the problems will worsen if the recently-formed Conservative government proceeds with shale gas fracking.
The results mirror those found by the U.S. EPA just last month.
The CHEM Trust, a British charity that investigates issues such as these, suggests there are problems in the UK regulations, which will only worsen with budget cuts.
The report also discusses the potential risks involved with the chemicals which the fracking companies utilizes to open the rocks. It claims there are significant chances of air, water (both ground and surface), and wildlife.
These toxic chemicals are said to cause various cancers and heart disease, according to the report. It cites examples of these materials, “associated with leukemia in humans,” and “toxic to sperm production in males”.
This week, the Lancashire county council will vote on plans to implement the first commercial fracking sites in the area. The new report on fracking will be released tomorrow, and the CHEM Trust said it will send the report to Lancashire councillors before the official vote.
New York was the first U.S. state to stop fracking over health concerns, despite the state’s significant access to shale gas. Health commissioner Howard Zucker agreed with the health risks, and governor Andrew Cuomo compared them to secondhand smoke.
The CHEM Trust report encourages many steps to protect British water, wildlife, and health. They ask to stop fracking near drinking water, more steady research to keep track of environmental effects, and continued monitoring once fracking has ceased. These include no fracking operations near drinking water aquifers, the undertaking of environmental impact assessments for all fracking sites, and effective monitoring even after fracking operations have stopped.
“We take the environmental risks associated with oil and gas exploration and production very seriously,” said an Environment Agency spokesperson, “including hydraulic fracturing for shale gas, and are committed to ensuring that people and the environment are protected.”