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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Fracking Chemicals Interfere With Hormone Function, Contaminate Groundwater With Endocrine-Disrupters

Medical Daily

Long suspected, the energy industry’s controversial practice of “fracking” may pollute ground water with chemicals disrupting the body’s hormones.

An investigator from the University of Missouri says energy companies use many endocrine-disrupting chemicals, known as EDCs, when extracting natural gas and other materials from the ground, contaminating the water. Today, EDCs may be found not only in groundwater but in manufactured products, foods, air, and soil — with well-documented links to infertility, cancer, and birth defects, says investigator Susan C. Nagel.

"More than 700 chemicals are used in the fracking process, and many of them disturb hormone function," Nagel, also a research scientist, said in a statement Monday. "With fracking on the rise, populations may face greater health risks from increased endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure."

In a study published Monday, Nagel and her colleagues examined a dozen suspected or known ECDs used by natural gas producers, measuring their effect on the body’s male and female reproductive hormones. The researchers took surface and groundwater samples from drilling sites in Garfield County, Colo., which has some 10,000 active natural gas wells as well as Boone County, Mo.

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