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Five Major Health Threats from Fracking-related Air Pollution


  • Birth Defects & Harm to the Developing Foetus: A number of VOCs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been found to interfere with foetal and child development resulting in harm to the developing heart, brain and nervous system. Because even short-term exposures to these pollutants at critical moments of development can result in long-lasting harm, health experts have identified this as a threat for communities living in close proximity to fracking sites.
  • Blood Disorders: The levels of benzene measured in multiple studies were high enough to raise concerns about permanent damage to blood-forming organs, resulting in harm to bone marrow and anaemia, if there were repeated or chronic exposures.
  • Cancer: Cancer-causing pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, diesel particulates and PAHs, have also been found in the air near fracking sites. Repeated or chronic exposures to these pollutants can cause an increased risk of cancer.

Studies have also found pollutants linked to other health impacts near fracking operations, including heart problems and harm to the liver, kidney, endocrine, immune, reproductive, gastrointestinal and auditory systems. More research is needed to better understand the level of risk for these impacts to workers, neighbouring families and communities.

Unfortunately, air pollution impacts have gone largely ignored by federal and state agencies to date. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as state governments, must address air pollution from oil and gas development in order to protect the health of neighbouring residents.

With approximately one in four Americans now living within a mile of an oil or gas well, and fracking spreading the industry’s reach even further across the country,  this report underscores the need for immediate action to protect public health.


Check the following link to read/download the Full Report:


Source: NRDC.