Conclusions from the report:
It is clear that the scientific evidence on adverse health effects from UOG is increasing steadily, with little evidence to the contrary. Cancer, hormone disruption, respiratory problems, and more, are all risks faced by millions of people worldwide as a result of exposure to UOG. Of particular concern are threats to vulnerable populations such as children born or living near UOG. A recent study demonstrated that in the US alone, 17.6 million people live within 1,600m (~1 mi) of at least one active oil and/or gas wellne .
As if this weren’t enough, the scale of UOG operations is growing, posing threats to even more people. As the industry has evolved, the number of wells per unit area has increased, with up to 50 horizontal wellbores that can now extend 2 miles in any direction. These large capacity well pads require more chemicals, water, sand, and truck trips, and produce more waste. Compared to conventional wells, this can be as much as 50 times more water and associated fracking chemicals – up to 20 million gallons per well. Thousands of tons of sand must be mined and transported to the pad, and millions of gallons of hazardous wastewater must be transported off the pad, stored, and disposed. Industrial activity on the well pad now lasts for months or years, leading to increased air pollution from diesel and truck engines. Larger scale operations mean higher risk of spills, water contamination, air pollution, truck hazards, etc.
Amplifying this risk is the fact that in many areas, UOG is now being conducted in close proximity to large populations, bringing it closer to more people in their homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses. Efforts to find uses for UOG wastewater, such as dust suppression or deicing of roads, similarly threatens to expose a greater number of people to the hazards of UOG. As these industrial sites expand, they also pose threats from large scale weather events caused by climate change. Damage to UOG facilities, storage tanks, and other equipment can spread industrial toxic waste throughout communities trying to recover from natural disasters.
The pace of science simply cannot keep up with the pace of UOG expansion. Thus, we have all become subjects in a worldwide experiment to see what happens after exposure to UOG. Yet we did not consent to participate in this experiment, and we cannot opt out. Neither can future generations who have no voice in their fate. We who can speak for ourselves have a right to stop this experiment before there are no unexposed control subjects. In all our decisions, we must put human and ecological health above the economic benefits of UOG, and our full effort into the safer energy sources that already exist today.