Chemicals released during natural gas extraction may harm reproduction, development -- ScienceDaily

Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations combine directional drilling
and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to release natural gas from
underground rock. Recent discussions have centered on potential air and
water pollution from chemicals used in these processes and how it
affects the more than 15 million Americans living within one mile of UOG
operations. Now, Susan C. Nagel, a researcher with the University of
Missouri, and national colleagues have conducted the largest review to
date of research centered on fracking byproducts and their effects on
human reproductive and developmental health. They determined that
exposure to chemicals released in fracturing may be harmful to human
health in men, women and children and recommend further scientific

Developmental and reproductive effects of chemicals associated with unconventional oil and natural gas operations

Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) operations have the potential to increase air and water pollution in communities located near UOG operations. Every stage of UOG operation from well construction to extraction, operations, transportation, and distribution can lead to air and water contamination. Hundreds of chemicals are associated with the process of unconventional oil and natural gas production. In this work, we review the scientific literature providing evidence that adult and early life exposure to chemicals associated with UOG operations can result in adverse reproductive health and developmental effects in humans. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) [including benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene (BTEX) and formaldehyde] and heavy metals (including arsenic, cadmium and lead) are just a few of the known contributors to reduced air and water quality that pose a threat to human developmental and reproductive health. The developing fetus is particularly sensitive to environmental factors, which include air and water pollution. Research shows that there are critical windows of vulnerability during prenatal and early postnatal development, during which chemical exposures can cause potentially permanent damage to the growing embryo and fetus. Many of the air and water pollutants found near UOG operation sites are recognized as being developmental and reproductive toxicants; therefore there is a compelling need to increase our knowledge of the potential health consequences for adults, infants, and children from these chemicals through rapid and thorough health research investigation.

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