The natural gas "fracking" industry can downplay or deny the potentially harmful effects of the chemicals it uses, but a new study highlights why that doesn't make them any less harmful.
The higher the dose, the more dangerous the toxin—that principle is the basis for most regulatory chemical testing in the United States. But a new report  shows that even low doses of some toxins can be harmful, and that finding could have implications for the long-standing debate over the chemicals used in natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
The toxins surveyed in the report affect the endocrine system, which produces hormones, the small signaling molecules that control reproduction, brain development, the immune system and overall health.
Although the report doesn't specifically mention hydraulic fracturing, a separate peer-reviewed study  released in September identified 649 chemicals used during natural gas production and found that at least 130 of those could affect the endocrine system. They include petroleum distillates, methanol and other, more obscure compounds with names like dibromoacetonitrile and ethoxylated nonylphenol.
Given these risks, would you want any of this stuff in the water you and your family drinks? Of course you wouldn't. Yet the natural gas "fracking" industry insists that there's no risk to its drilling methods. To which we'd like to know, if they're so confident, how about they and their families agree to drink and bathe in water from areas near their "fracking" operations? Don't all volunteer at once, guys!