Other fringe topics revealed the connection between our health and that of the environment

Recently I wrote about a quote regarding investigative reporting and mainstream media. According to the quote investigative reporting is the job of fringe investigators, rather than a job for mainstream media. [Fringe Reports]

Vitamin D and hormone D metabolism has been an my self assigned Don Quixote project but I have also written about other health topics in the past that had seemed to be suppressed or ignored by the mainstream media at the time.

Ignoring or suppressing worrisome events in the news may seem more comfortable in the short term but not addressing unspoken anxieties can lead to greater fear and worse problems over time. Not addressing problems also wastes time that could have been used to develop and implement improved strategies. Worrying by itself is not helpful but worrying that leads to improved procedures can save time, money and health over the long run.

I’m going to summarize some other fringe topics from my archives as a review of what we may not have heard much about over the last few years.

Fracking – I learned about the hydraulic fracturing technique used in the petroleum industry in a round-about way. Over the years I had noticed that the pets and pet farm animals of a family I knew living in the north east area of Ohio that seemed to have roughly a 25% cancer rate – whenever I talked to the family it seemed like at least one of the family’s animals had cancer. It was a hobby farm so there weren’t chemicals being sprayed on their own land but they did live within a farming community. What I discovered when I started searching for information about cancer prevalence in the area was that children in the area also had been having an increased rate of cancer. [1]

However the types of cancers varied among the children and the types of contaminants found in the ground water supplies that were tested varied from area to area – no specific culprit or toxin could be named or held accountable – except that coincidentally hydraulic fracturing techniques had been used in the area since approximately 1965. [2, includes an interactive map of Ohio marked with locations where fracking incidents have occurred. Governor Kasich’s policies in Ohio have allowed for expansion of the fracking industry in the state and have even allowed waste water from fracking operations taking place in other states to be stored, treated and dumped into Ohio rivers  – per the information on this link by Earthjustice, a legal defense oriented environmental nonprofit group.]

The increased rate of cancer found in children living in the northern area of Ohio was never officially blamed on fracking or on any other industry.

The technique that became known as ‘fracking’ pumps extremely large amounts of water deep underground under high pressure. The water has a mixture of unidentified and corporate protected chemical solvents added before being injected underground in order to help dissolve tiny deposits of oil from the shale rock. The water picks up more contaminants while it is deep underground and the waste water that returns to the surface has to be collected and treated as a toxin. I learned that unfortunately for our clean water supplies, during Dick Cheney’s administration businesses using hydraulic fracturing techniques were exempted from being required to follow Clean Water Act standards.

The waste water that returns to the surface may be stored in open ponds that can flood during rainy seasons and, even worse, in some places the waste water has been sprayed on dirt roads to reduce dust or even used to irrigate farm crops. [5] And wastewater has been allowed to be injected directly into underground clean water aquifers in the state of California even though there is a severe multi year long drought occurring in the state. [6]

Articles on fracking from my archives – 1 & 2 are brief with a single link, 3 is a long series of old posts copied onto one page and the formatting is wrong, sorry, many links though: [1, 2, 3]

Citizens of Oklahoma and Texas and elsewhere have also been experiencing earthquakes almost daily in some places. The earthquakes may be due to the quantity of fluid that is being pumped deep underground either during the initial fracking process, or afterwards, as a way to get rid of the contaminated waste water. The citizens of Oklahoma are expected to just get used to rattling around on a regular basis as the fracking process was protected at the state level there even though the increase in earthquakes has been associated with the hydraulic fracturing techniques. [4]

I will continue this summary of other fringe topics in a series of posts.

/Disclosure: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

An update on fracking, 2014. link

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing is a mining process that releases small amounts of oil from tar sands. The process uses large amounts of water which is injected deep underground as high pressure steam. The steam dissolves the oil in the tar sands and it is brought to the surface by the fracking fluid which also contains solvents. The water that is used becomes contaminated by the solvents and by other toxic chemicals which are brought up by the process in addition to the small amount of oil that is recovered. [link]

Fracking in North Dakota

The government of the state of North Dakota has taken a cooperative tactic with the hydraulic fracturing industry. However the environmental impact has been significant and the rate of spills has escalated over the years rather than improving which suggests that the more stringent regulations or fines used in other states may be more protective than expecting cooperation from the drilling companies.

Over all, more than 18.4 million gallons of oils and chemicals spilled, leaked or misted into the air, soil and waters of North Dakota from 2006 through early October 2014. (In addition, the oil industry reported spilling 5.2 million gallons of nontoxic substances, mostly fresh water, which can alter the environment and carry contaminants.)” [link]