By: Nicola Davis | Pollutants from fracking could pose health risk to children, warn researchers | Neuroscience | The Guardian
Analysis of US fracking sites suggests pollutants including airborne particulates and heavy metals could affect neurodevelopment of babies and children
Pollutants released during fracking processes could pose a health risk to infants and children, according to researchers studying chemicals involved in shale gas operations.
The extraction of shale gas using pressurised fluid – a process known as fracking – has been used commercially since the 1950s and in recent years has fuelled an energy boom in the US. Many countries around the world are looking to follow suit – including Australia and the UK, where the first drilling in six years is expected to begin this week in the North Yorkshire village of Kirby Misperton, despite staunch opposition from protesters.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is a way of extracting natural gas from shale rock formations that are often deep underground. It involves pumping water, chemicals and usually sand underground at high pressure to fracture shale – hence the name – and release the gas trapped within to be collected back at the surface.