Fracking chemicals could potentially harm human development and reproduction

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Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” – a mechanism used for release natural gas from underground rock – could potentially lead to release of complex mixture of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that could harm human development and reproduction, researchers have revealed.

Researchers carried out a review of more than 100 studies on health effects associated with unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations and concluded that available research suggests potential adverse health outcomes and note a dearth of evidence-based research related to the UOG process.

Susan C. Nagel and Christopher D. Kassotis, researchers with the University of Missouri, and national colleagues studied more than 100 scientific, peer-reviewed publications and examined the studies thoroughly for patterns and links that focused on UOG chemicals and human development.

“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.”