Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pennsylvania natural gas drilling uses chemicals linked to illness

Monday, Jun. 28, 2010

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Compounds associated with neurological problems, cancer and other serious health effects are among the chemicals being used to drill natural gas wells in Pennsylvania, although state and industry officials said Monday the practice is not polluting drinking water.

The Associated Press obtained the list from the state Department of Environmental Protection, which assembled what is believed to be the first complete catalog of gas drilling chemicals being used in Pennsylvania. The agency hopes to post it online soon.

The department counts more than 80 chemicals being used by the rapidly growing drilling industry in hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," as it pursues the rich Marcellus Shale reserve. Many of the compounds are also present in consumer products, such as salt, cosmetics, gasoline, pesticides, solvents, glues, paints and tobacco smoke.

Environmental advocates worry that the chemicals are poisoning underground drinking water sources. However, environmental officials say they know of no examples in Pennsylvania or elsewhere......continued......