‘Secret chemical’ used in Pennsylvania gas and oil

Oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania are possibly using dangerous chemicals in fracking wells without legally disclosing it to the state. This is making it difficult for vulnerable communities to know if they are at risk of contamination and health problems.

one in report published This week experts from the environmental health group Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) analyzed data on fracking disclosures made by oil and gas well operators. frackfocus, an NGO. They found that the fossil fuel industry used approximately 160 million pounds of unknown chemicals in nearly 5,000 unconventional oil and gas wells across the state from 2012 to 2022. The study includes a link interactive map Of these sites, those are concentrated in the northern and far west counties of Pennsylvania.

“Oil and gas companies injected incompletely identified chemicals into more than 1,200 wells that may have been fluorosurfactants, a class of chemicals that includes many PFAS,” the report’s authors wrote.

During fracking, companies inject a mixture of sand, water and chemicals into the earth’s crust. This “fractures” the rock, allowing companies to extract oil or natural gas from deep underground. Sadly, some of the chemicals used may include PFAS, also known as Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, Often referred to as “forever chemicals”, they are notorious for their inability to break down over time, persisting in both nature and the human body. About 15,000 chemicals The substance, found in everyday products like clothing and cookware, falls under the classification of PFAS. Long-term chemical exposure has been linked to cancerinfertility, birth defectAnd More,

“These ‘forever’ chemicals are too dangerous to be released into the environment,” said Barbara Gottlieb, one of the report’s co-authors. said in a statement, “Once this poisonous genie is out of the bottle, it is not possible to get it back.”

Unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s current law allows companies to hide information about the chemicals they use if disclosing such details would put them at a competitive disadvantage, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. informed of, According to the report, very few cases of companies using PFAS have been reported to state authorities.

For example, only two companies reported the use of a single PFAS, called PTFE, in eight unconventional gas wells in the last decade, the report authors wrote. And because so much is unknown, communities and rural families near oil and gas wells may be exposed to these harmful chemicals without knowing it. And even though only a fraction of the unidentified chemicals used in Pennsylvania wells are PFAS, it still poses a major threat to public health, the report warns.

In response to the publication of the report, a coalition of organizations in the state published a letter To Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro. He urged them and elected officials to adopt policies similar to those passed in Colorado Banned use of PFAS For oil and gas extraction. “We believe Pennsylvania can and should take these common-sense steps to protect the public from PFAS and other toxic chemicals used in oil and gas wells,” the letter said.

Related Articles: Industry documents show corporate ghouls knew about Forever Chemicals for decades

The nation’s growing concern over PFAS contamination goes back decades. This is partly because the major companies that produce PFAS suppressed evidence of medical issues associated with the chemicals for years. But the public is becoming increasingly aware and major chemical companies have been forced to pay large sums of money in damages. The same year, major chemicals maker 3M agreed to pay Over $10 billion in settlementsIs on contaminated water.

Federal agencies are also stepping up. Earlier this year the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Announced proposal to regulate PFOA and PFOS, which are two very common forms of PFAS. Some states have independently imposed limits on the levels of PFAS in drinking water, but there are still no federal limits for the thousands of chemicals that can get into the water supply. And the EPA’s proposal comes after years of unsuspecting communities being exposed to the chemicals.

“We are all at risk because of the lack of transparency about what our government knows, the gaping truck-sized holes in the reporting system, and the lack of accountability when drillers don’t even bother to report anything,” Karen Feridun, co-founder of the Better Path Coalition, said in a statement on the report. “The system is designed to favor polluters. “It makes the case for ending drilling stronger.”

Want more climate and environment stories? View Ether’s Guides Decarbonizing your home, divestment from fossil fuels, packing a disaster go bagAnd Overcoming climate fears, And don’t miss our coverage of the latest IEA report on clean energyfuture of carbon dioxide removalAnd this Invasive plants you should cut to pieces,

(Tags to translate)Fracking(T)Organofluorides(T)Water(T)Barbara Gottlieb(T)Karen Feridun(T)Environment & Health(T)3M(T)Drinking Water(T)US Environmental Protection Agency(T) Perfluorooctanoic acid (T) Josh Shapiro (T) Natural gas (T) Environment (T) United States Environmental Protection Agency (T) Pollutants (T) Polytetrafluoroethylene (T) Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (T) Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (T) Gizmodo

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