Eyes on Environment: the organic side of fracking

“Let’s begin with a riddle – what do insecticides, make-up removers, and antiperspirants have in common with hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’, the booming industrial process that removes natural gas from underground shale formations?

The answer – organic compounds contained in insecticides (gluteraldehyde), make-up removers (petroleum distillates), and antiperspirants (isopropanol) are some of the same chemicals found in the fracking fluids injected into drilling wells to break down shale rock and release natural gas. Both gluteraldehyde and isopropanol have known toxic effects in humans, including causing asthmatic and respiratory difficulties. However, whereas environmental regulations are already in place to manage waste from companies producing household goods, little regulation exists within the burgeoning fracking industry to prevent these and other organic chemicals from leaking into surrounding groundwater or polluting the air (except for a few state regulations)…”


Just the beginning of my next post on Nature Scitable‘s Eyes on Environment blog!  Click here to read more!



Ferrer, I., & Thurman, E. (2015). Chemical constituents and analytical approaches for hydraulic fracturing waters Trends in Environmental Analytical Chemistry, 5, 18-25 DOI: 10.1016/j.teac.2015.01.003

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