Warning issued on 'experimental' fracking

Nov. 12, 2012 at 4:34 PM
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ERIE, Pa., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania has opened its doors to fracking without doing the scientific research necessary to ensure the public's safety, a public health researcher says.

David Dausey of Mercyhurst University in Erie said Pennsylvania has become a mecca for oil and gas industry fracking operations.

"Pennsylvania has opened up its doors to fracking in ways that many other states in the United States have not," he said in a university release Monday.

"We don't know enough about the environmental and human health effects of fracking and, as a result, Pennsylvania has become the home of experimental fracking."

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a controversial means of extracting natural gas or petroleum from subterranean shale by using pressurized water with chemical to break open the shale formations.

Environmental groups claim fracking can result in air and water pollution and adverse human health effects.

"Until we have real scientific research about the environmental and human health effects of fracking, we should regard all current fracking practices as experimental," Dausey said, adding that people who live close to fracking sites have "every right to be concerned" about the potential health consequences of fracking.

There should be further research before fracking becomes more widespread, he said.

"Keeping the public safe should be our number one priority. It should take priority over profits, over jobs, over everything."

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