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In the news
Fracking or hydraulic fracturing harmful,
Humans may be harmed by endocrine disrupting chemicals released during natural gas mining
Susan C. Nagel and Christopher D. Kassotis, researchers with the University of Missouri, and national colleagues have conducted a review of research on health effects associated with unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations and concluded these activities have potential for environmental release of a complex mixture of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that could potentially harm human development and reproduction.
The authors reviewed more than 100 scientific, peer-reviewed publications and examined the studies thoroughly for patterns and links that focused on UOG chemicals and human development. In their peer-reviewed commentary, the authors concluded that available research suggests potential adverse health outcomes and note a dearth of evidence-based research related to the UOG process.
"We recommend a process to examine the total endocrine disrupting activity from exposure to the mixtures of chemicals used in and resulting from these operations in addition to examining the effects of each chemical on its own," Nagel said. "Studying these complex mixtures of chemicals released during fracking is necessary since the chemical identities used in oil and natural gas operations are not always known. Additionally, there is strong evidence of endocrine disrupting chemical mixtures having additive effects, so this approach also may be more sensitive."
Nagel, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health in the School of Medicine, and an adjunct associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science at MU, conducted the review with fellow MU researchers Chris Kassotis, a recent doctoral graduate in the Division of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science, and Jane McElroy, an associate professor in family and community medicine in the School of Medicine. Don Tillitt, an adjunct professor of biological sciences and a research toxicologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, also contributed to the study.
"Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Oil and Natural Gas Operations: Potential Environmental Contamination and Recommendations to Assess Complex Environmental
Mixtures," Environmental Health Perspectives
Fracking plays active role in generating toxic metal wastewater
The production of hazardous wastewater in hydraulic fracturing is assumed to be partly due to chemicals introduced into injected freshwater when it mixes with highly saline brine naturally present in the rock. But a study investigating the toxic metal barium in fracking wastewater finds that chemical reactions between injected freshwater and the fractured shale itself could play a major role.
Dartmouth College. Applied Geochemistry
The power of film - bans on hydraulic fracking
Researchers are the first to use the Internet and social media to systematically show how a documentary film shaped public perception and ultimately led to municipal bans on hydraulic fracking.
They demonstrated how local screenings of Gasland--a 2010 American documentary that focused on communities affected by natural gas drilling--affected the public debate on hydraulic fracking. Additionally, Vasi and his collaborators demonstrated how local screenings were linked to an increase in anti-fracking mobilizations that, in turn, influenced the passage of local bans on fracking.
According to the study, "screenings of Gasland in different locations had an effect upon the mobilization of local campaigns against the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing; in turn, those local mobilizations made local policymakers significantly more likely to take action to ban the practice of fracking."
"'No Fracking Way!' Documentary Film, Discursive Opportunity and Local Opposition against Hydraulic Fracturing in the United States, 2010-2013"
American Sociological Review. University of Iowa