Hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking,” is a process of bringing otherwise inaccessible fossil fuels, such as oil or natural gas, to the surface. It involves using sand, certain chemicals and millions of gallons of water to smash the rocks under which the desired materials lie.
Because of the potential for environmental contamination, fracking is a controversial practice. According to Forbes, you may be at risk for multiple health problems if you live in an area where fracking takes place.
Fracking involves literally blasting the rock with the hydraulic fluids. Studies have shown that the noise can disrupt the sleep of children and adults in the vicinity. This may cause children to be at greater risk for learning difficulties and increase the likelihood of heart disease and diabetes in adults.
Fracking companies may store toxic wastewater in open pits, allowing the release of chemicals into the air. The fracking process can also release benzene and other poisonous gases. People living near fracking wells may breathe in these chemicals, perhaps without realizing it. This can increase the likelihood of developing asthma, which can range from mild to severe. Residents living near fracked wells frequently complain of respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
Fracking involves chemicals that, even in very low concentrations, can prove harmful to developing fetuses. If you are an expectant mother living near a fracking site, your chance of a high-risk pregnancy increases by 30%, with a 40% increased risk that your baby will be premature. Children born prematurely are more likely to develop neurologic disabilities and other health issues.