The relationship between hydraulic fracturing and public health is controversial, particularly related to the health effects people associate with the fracking process. New York State has banded fracking, citing health concerns as a primary reason for the ban. Studies have investigated the relationship between fracking and reproductive health issues and fracking’s effect on the health of children. One study claims people living near fracking sites are more likely to get sick.
People are primarily concerned with the health risks associated with air and water pollution from the fracking wells. A study conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission assessed 41 products used in the fracturing process (Law and Finkel 2011: 785). Of the products they studied, 73% had between 6 and 14 different adverse health effects including skin, eye, and sensory organ damage, respiratory distress, gastrointestinal and liver disease, brain and nervous system problems, cancers, and negative reproductive effects (Law and Finkel 2011:785). Researchers that conducted the study believe that air and water pollution from the fracturing process are contributing to these health problems.
Fracking has emerged as a controversial issue in society. Citizens find themselves concerned about potential health effects from the process of fracking. Many citizens in New York fought extremely hard to ban fracking for a number of reasons, with an important one being the potential harms to human health. The New York Department of Health claimed that there is too much uncertainty regarding the health effects (Planet Save 2015). For this reason fracking is banned in the state until science can determine the health risks (Planet Save 2015). Citizens across the country claim that they experience a variety of health problems from fracking. They fight the natural gas industry who claims that the fracking process is safe and does not pose a threat to public health. Increased research from both advocates and opponents of fracking is being done and beginning to provide people with a more concrete understanding of fracking’s public health effects.