According to the Environmental Protection Agency, hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is a valuable method of extracting natural gas from the Earth and enhancing the fuel supply of the United States. If fracking is undertaken without appropriate safety precautions, however, injuries can occur. Texans who are injured in hydraulic fracturing accidents or sickened as a result of fracking may need legal help to recover compensation.
Recently, a report by a veterinarian and a professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine raised questions about the safety of consuming meat and dairy products from farms near fracking sites. Reported illness and death among livestock exposed to fracking materials may suggest that humans could be sickened by the practice as well.
Illness Follows Groundwater Contamination
In the report, the authors examined 24 case studies from six states that produce shale gas through fracking. In each case study, livestock suffered health problems after exposure to chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. In one case, 17 cows died immediately after being exposed to fracking fluid. In another, 70 cows died after a group of 140 was exposed. A third case involved contaminated water consumed by pregnant cows; after overflowing fracking chemicals entered the water, half of the cows delivered dead calves. Texas has also reported goat deaths with suspected hydraulic fracturing chemical involvement.
Fracking industry proponents have criticized the report because it did not rely on controlled experiments and did not identify farmers from the case studies. The authors contend that funding for fracking studies was insufficient to create a report of that scope.
Fracking operations use 7 million gallons of water for each well from which the gas is drawn. In addition, hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemicals are required to complete the process. The large amount of fluid and chemicals required to release natural fuel from shale can cause water and ground contamination that can affect crops, livestock and people.
How Safe Are You if You Live Near a Fracking Site?
The report from Cornell University raises concerns about the safety of people who live near fracking sites, some of which are in Texas.
In addition, the authors of the report assert that some livestock exposed to fracking chemicals might pass those chemicals to consumers through meat and dairy products. In particular, some chemicals have a propensity to be stored in fat and are not metabolized well. This problem can also pose a challenge to food producers in fracking regions, who may see reduced demand for their products in the wake of this report.
If you are concerned that you or your livestock is suffering from groundwater contamination due to fracking, consult an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights.