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Congressional Report on Chemicals Used in Fracking

In April of 2011, a report was presented, per request, to the United States Congressional Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations.  This is the most comprehensive report on chemicals used in fracking currently known to SAFE.

Note especially this excerpt from the Report’s Conclusion:

This analysis is the most comprehensive national assessment to date of the types and volumes of chemical used in the hydraulic fracturing process. It shows that between 2005 and 2009, the 14 leading hydraulic fracturing companies in the United States used over 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products containing 750 compounds. More than 650 of these products contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or listed as hazardous air pollutants.

And this excerpt from the Report’s Executive Summary:

As the use of hydraulic fracturing has grown, so have concerns about its environmental and public health impacts. One concern is that hydraulic fracturing fluids used to fracture rock formations contain numerous chemicals that could harm human health and the environment, especially if they enter drinking water supplies. The opposition of many oil and gas companies to public disclosure of the chemicals they use has compounded this concern. Last Congress, the Committee on Energy and Commerce launched an investigation to examine the practice of hydraulic fracturing in the United States. As part of that inquiry, the Committee asked the 14 leading oil and gas service companies to disclose the types and volumes of the hydraulic fracturing products they used in their fluids between 2005 and 2009 and the chemical contents of those products. This report summarizes the information provided to the Committee. Between 2005 and 2009, the 14 oil and gas service companies used more than 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products containing 750 chemicals and other components. Overall, these companies used 780 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products – not including water added at the well site – between 2005 and 2009. Some of the components used in the hydraulic fracturing products were common and generally harmless, such as salt and citric acid. Some were unexpected, such as instant coffee and walnut hulls. And some were extremely toxic, such as benzene and lead. Appendix A lists each of the 750 chemicals and other components used in hydraulic fracturing products between 2005 and 2009.

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