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Fracking May Harm Human Health with Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

First Posted: Aug 31, 2015 08:37 AM EDT

Natural gas mining could cause issues for human health. It turns out that endocrine disruptors from these activities could potentially harm human development and reproduction.

More than 15 million Americans live within one mile of unconventional oil and gas operations (UOG) that combine directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing to release natural gas from underground rock. Current studies are still inconclusive on the potential long-term effects on human development, which is why researchers reviewed the research on health effects associated with UOG operations.

The researchers reviewed more than 100 scientific, peer-reviewed publications. More specifically, they looked for patterns and linked that focused on UOG chemicals and human development. In the end, the researchers concluded that the research suggests potential adverse health effects 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," said Susan Nagel, one of the researchers, in a news release. "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."

The findings reveal that when it comes to these operations, endocrine-disrupting chemicals could make a huge impact on human health. This is especially important to note moving forward when considering where operations should take place and what measures should be taken to help purify local water supplies.

The findings are published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

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