The UK Daily Mail has published a harrowing article citing research conducted by scientists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst suggesting that hydraulic fracturing (aka fracking) can cause breast cancer.
Pregnant mice were exposed to one of four doses of chemicals commonly used in fracking that were mixed in to water the mice drank. Scientists then examined the breast tissue of mice just before puberty at 21 days old and mice at 85 days old which is considered early adulthood.
The lowest chemical levels are equal to levels found in drinking water around drill areas. The highest chemical levels are equal to chemical amounts found in fracking industry wastewater. While chemical exposure to mice at 21 days was had no effect, mice at 85 days experienced excessive layers of cells that grew rapidly.
Despite these findings, however, the authors state further studies are needed to evaluate the many additional chemicals used in, and produced by, UOG processes to better quantify the concentrations of these and other contaminants in environmental samples and to assess the effects of exposure during other sensitive windows of development, including pregnancy and lactation, puberty, and the aging female.
Additionally, the scientists also suggest examining whether exposure to a fracking chemical mix during development can sensitize animals to hormones or carcinogens. Certainly more research of this should be done. However, a mouse’s anatomy is different from a human’s, so exposure to such chemicals would not have the same effect in humans as it does in mice.
Furthermore, in a fact-check of filmmaker Josh Fox’s films Gasland and The Sky is Pink both of which claim that fracking causes breast cancer, the Associated Press cited two Texas researchers, Simon Craddock Lee, a professor of medical anthropology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and David Risser, an epidemiologist with the Texas Cancer Registry. Both said that there was no evidence of an increase in breast cancer in the counties cited by Fox for his movies.
No doubt many more media outlets will report this story and, unfortunately, many gullible people will believe it which could result in a hysteria. Consequently, environmentalists will no doubt attempt to use the press coverage from this in order to raise funds so they can lobby or campaign in some way to have fracking banned.
Developed countries are wealthy and prosperous thanks to out usage of fossil fuels. Banning fracking would make using them more expensive down the line in order to deprive mankind of the luxuries and prosperity we enjoy.