Public Health England Publishes Final Report on Fracking
The final publication of Public Health England’s (PHE) report into the risks that may arise from shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) concludes that there is little risk if sites are ‘properly run and regulated’.
An interim version of the report was published in 2013 with a request for additional relevant literature. That literature has now been reviewed and included in the final document. Whilst the report considers potential risks to populations within the vicinity of fracking sites, it only looks at the release of chemical and radioactive pollutants, and does not claim to include any wider public health impacts.
The new report comes as there is further controversy over fracking in the United States. Government officials in Oklahoma are reviewing scientific data, holding public discussions and considering new regulations after a number of earthquakes in the region. In another area the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project (SWPA-EHP) has found increased particulate levels in homes near fracking wells. Spikes in particulate matter predominantly occur at night, as Project Director Reina Ripple explained: “The air masses at night tend to be pretty stable, so you’ve got a lot of people who are living not even downwind from these sites necessarily, but downslope,” she said. “The acute impacts do seem to be the concern right now, and you can imagine if these people are getting spikes there are going to be acute impacts from that. What the long term effects are going to be, we’re not certain.”
You can download a copy of the PHE report here