According to researchers from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati, fracking releases compounds known as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH’s). These compounds are, according to researchers, released in quantities which far exceed the maximum permissible lifetime limits set down by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
PAH’s are a whole class of organic (carbon based) compounds, some of which are known to cause cancer in human populations which are exposed to them. The research is published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology and shows that emissions of these compounds from fracking wells presents a clear health risk to people living near them.
The researchers collected air samples at set distances up to 3 miles from 23 active fracking wells in Carroll County Ohio. In a project which lasted three weeks, researchers have shown that locations closer to the wells contained higher concentrations of PAH compounds than those further away. Overall the concentrations of 62 different PAH compounds were analyzed. Carroll County is prime fracking country and has more than one active fracking well per square mile.
The study has revealed levels of PAH compounds across every site sampled. Worryingly, the concentrations are up to ten times higher than those areas with no active fracking wells. The scientists factored in PAH sources from other combustion sources such as wood smoke and exhaust emissions. Once all findings were collated the research suggests that in a worst case scenario any person living in the sample area will be exposed to carcinogenic compounds which well exceed EPA maximum limits.
The researchers are quick to assert the various caveats intrinsic to their findings but the fact remains that the closer an individual is to active fracking wells in Carroll County the more PAH compounds they are likely to ingest.