Environmental controls, Permitting, Pollution prevention & control, Raw materials

“Dear Aunty, should we be worried about sex-changing chemicals used in fracking?”

Well, in the US perhaps; in the UK, probably not dears.

In this Daily Telegraph blog by Geoffrey Lean, it is announced that “gender-bender” chemicals have been found in water at fracking sites.

One of the authors of the study says “I’m not an alarmist about this, but it is something the country should take seriously”

The problem, sweeties, is that again this is very much a US problem because of the much wider range of chemicals used by oil and gas companies that are fracking for gas – the study noting that 100 of the “more than 750 chemicals reportedly used” being “known or suspected endocrine disrupting chemicals”.

Here in the UK, our regulatory structure simply won’t permit such a vast range of substances to be used – and especially not any that are hazardous to groundwater.

If you need any proof of this, then look no further than Balcombe this summer where the Environment Agency refused Cuadrilla permission to use Antimony Trioxide as a drilling fluid additive pumpkins – the Environment Agency showing it not only has a bark but a bite to go with it.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t be worried about potential endocrine disrupting chemicals, because we should. But we should target our efforts in other areas first. Did you know that some of the surfactants found in laundry detergents contain chemicals that, when biodegrading in the environment, release suspected endocrine disrupters? Alkylphenol ethoxylates being one according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Like everything in the great fracking debate, a sense of perspective is required dears.

Until next time xxx


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