Don't Miss Out

Subscribe to OCA's News & Alerts.

Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

Scientists Can Now See Fracker’s “Fingerprints” All over Polluted Water

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

People are getting sick all across fracking country, and many are blaming their mysterious illnesses - headaches, excruciating rashes, even liver damage - on the chemicals oil and gas companies have been pumping into the earth. But thanks to trade-secret laws, which allow companies to stay mum about the chemicals in their fracking fluid, it's been difficult to pin the blame on the practice - until now that is.

Researchers from Dartmouth College, Stanford University, and the French Geological Survey claim they've created a tool that detects a specific chemical fingerprint unique to fracking fluid, allowing scientists to pinpoint fracking as a culprit in water pollution.

According to their research, boron and lithium - which both occur naturally in shale - mix with fracking fluid when it's injected underground, altering the wastewater's chemical makeup in ways different from other fossil fuel extraction methods. As Avner Vengosh, a geochemist at Duke University, told Think Progress, this new detection method, which hones in specifically on this chemical fingerprint, bypasses the whole trade-secret hiccup:

"Many of the fracking operations today are happening in areas that have a legacy of 20, 30 years of conventional oil and gas development," Vengosh said. "So when there's contamination, [fracking companies] can say 'Oh, it's not us - it's the legacy of 30 years of operations here."

"We now have the tools to say, well, sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong," he added.         

Pre-order Ronnie's New Book, Coming February 11

Get Local

Find News and Action for your state:
20% Off Mercola's Biodynamic Organic Moringa Products and 20% Goes to Organic Consumers Association.