Fracking: A Silent Death Sweeps Across the World
15th May 2013
Farmland is tainted. Drinking water is flammable. And humans along with animals are sick.
The cause? Fracking.
It’s terrorizing the environment, destroying the health of those who live close to the sites and contaminating the food supply. With more than 600,000 fracking wells and waste injection locations around the country, if this practice is not contained soon, clean water and food will become a distant memory.
What exactly is fracking? It’s a technique used by the oil industry to facilitate the flow of natural gas or petroleum by injecting mass amounts of noxious liquid deep into the earth. The chemicals used in fracking (benzene, arsenic, ethylene glycol, lead, formaldehyde, toluene, Uranium-238, Radium-226, to name a few) devastate the land and water within proximity to the poisonous injection sites. Even more alarming, the toxins are also linked with birth defects, cancer, autism, kidney failure and autoimmune disorders.
Water on Fire
One of the more dramatic illustrations of fracking contamination is water catching fire straight our of the faucet. Seriously. The methane levels are so high, tap water becomes combustible. Not only does fracking ruin the land and water, but it also infuses livestock and plants with toxins that eventually enter into the food supply. Farmers who live close to fracking wells have become seriously ill, animals die.
One example is seen with Marilyn and Robert Hunt, farmers in West Virginia. Goats, chickens and cattle are raised on their 70-acre organic farm. The Hunts turned down an offer from the Chesapeake Energy Corporation to lease their minerals rights. This didn’t prevent Chesapeake from “stealing gas from both sides of our property,” according to Mrs. Hunt in the Organic Consumers Association article, “Fracking our Farms: A Tale of Five Farming Families.” Then, in 2010, the company received a permit to dispose fracking waste on her land. She recalls, “The water got little white flecks in it, and we started to get sick. We lost a whole lot of baby goats that got gastrointestinal disorders from drinking the water.” Curiously, the cattle were spared any adverse effects. Mrs. Hunt believes this is due to the fact that the cattle drink from an uncontaminated spring high on the property.
Susan Wallace-Babb, a Colorado rancher, has also suffered from fracking. In 2005, she breathed in fumes from an overflowing natural gas tank half a mile from her property. She collapsed, unconscious. The next morning, Susan was violently ill with severe diarrhea and uncontrollable vomiting. Within a few days, a burning rash broke out over her body, lesions soon followed. Her symptoms became worse whenever she went outdoors. A year later she moved to a small town in Texas. Susan’s health improved over the course of three years until Exxon began fracking wells 14 miles away. Her symptoms returned within a few short months.
End the Madness
Until farmers refuse to lease their land to fracking operators, the problem will continue to escalate. In an effort to educate fellow ranchers about the dangers of fracking, Jacki Schilke of North Dakota, warns, “They’re here to rape this land, make as much money as they can and get the hell out of here. They could give a crap less what they are doing here. They will come on your property look you straight in the eye and lie to you.”
For those who find fracking unacceptable, a petition to ban the practice in the United States can be found here.
To learn more, the Dangers of Fracking website offers unique animated information.
Sources for this article include: