Medical studies on fracking could shed light on potential health effects of the process, doctors say.

The natural gas recovery process known as fracking (or hydraulic fracturing) is booming in many parts of the United States, but doctors warn of possible health effects in populated areas.

At a conference on the drilling process, the doctors urged for a moratorium on fracking in populated areas until more studies can shed some light on health effects on the population.

The studies should be peer-reviewed and financed by gas producers as well as independent research foundations, the doctors say.

The fracking projects involve the injection of water, sand and chemicals into deep shale formations to get to the trapped natural gas.

In the past, the industry was very tight-lipped about the chemicals they were using in the process and some residents and healthcare professionals are concerned about tainted water supplies as well as exposure to airborne chemicals.

The industry says that they have used the process successfully for 65 years in 30 states.

Even when some of the chemicals are being disclosed, U.S. officials say they are not sure about the hazards associated with them in this context.

Fracking fluids often contain petroleum distillates, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and glycol ethers. The wastewater from the fracking wells can contain salts and radiation.

Some of the chemicals that have been found in the water and nearby wells:

  • Glycols
  • Alcohols
  • Benzene
  • Methane

Source: Bloomberg 

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