Fracking could cause heart defects

Fracking could cause heart defects

Fracking could cause heart defects

First published in News by , Reporter

PEOPLE living within ten miles of fracking sites could be at risk of heart defects, according to latest papers.

The publication, written by Michael Hill in The Lancet medical journal, highlights concerns over the controversial procedure to extract shale gas and oil from the ground.

Mr Hill, a former oil and gas man, has called for a complete halt on all fracking until more research has been conducted looking into claims that people living near sites have an increased risk of congenital heart defects and other health issues.

Four locations in Sussex could become fracking sites in the future – Lower Stumble Wood near Balcombe, Wood Barn Farm near Billinghurst, Nine Acre Copse in Fernhurst and the land south of Boxal Bridge in Wisborough Green.

Mr Hill said: “Recent studies from the USA have suggested an increased risk of adverse health events such as congenital heart defects in individuals living close to natural gas development within a radius of ten miles.

“These preliminary findings need to be replicated and explored further in large prospective studies.

“It may be irresponsible to consider any further fracking in the UK, exploratory or otherwise, until these prospective studies have been completed and the health impacts of fracking have been determined.

“The need for specific regulations coupled with strict enforcement through an independent, competent body is clear.

“But no such body exists, and no such efficient regulations are forthcoming.

“The reality of shale gas regulation in the UK is far from the best practice alluded to and far from that needed to protect the public and environment in a densely populated country such as the UK.”

Both Celtique Energie and Cuadrilla, the energy firms who have submitted applications to drill at the four sites, declined to comment when contacted by The Argus.

Mass anti-fracking protests took over the village of Balcombe last summer leading to 126 arrests, including that of Green MP Caroline Lucas.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokeswoman said: “The UK has a robust regulatory system for all onshore drilling and permission to frack for shale will only be granted if the companies’ operations are safe.

“The Royal Society in their report made no recommendations for new legislation.

“However, they did recommend some improvements to existing requirements and we have accepted all their recommendations and we are implementing them.”

It’s your voice What do you think? Email letters@theargus.co.uk, visit www.theargus.co.uk/letters or write to us with your thoughts.

Comments (17)

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11:32am Wed 25 Jun 14

FC says...

This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism.
This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism. FC
  • Score: 7

11:42am Wed 25 Jun 14

rolivan says...

Meanwhile millions of people are allowed to smoke and drink themselves to Death.
Meanwhile millions of people are allowed to smoke and drink themselves to Death. rolivan
  • Score: 4

12:02pm Wed 25 Jun 14

gheese77 says...

FC wrote:
This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism.
Is it ? Have you actually read the full article in the Lancet ?
[quote][p][bold]FC[/bold] wrote: This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism.[/p][/quote]Is it ? Have you actually read the full article in the Lancet ? gheese77
  • Score: 1

12:03pm Wed 25 Jun 14

stevo!! says...

"Mr Hill, a former oil and gas man, has called for a complete halt on all fracking until more research has been conducted looking into claims that people living near sites have an increased risk of congenital heart defects and other health issues. "

If these defects are already known, what is the point of further research?

Btw, today on Britain's roads there were millions of cars spewing out exhaust fumes which cause heart defects and respiratory problems......just sayin'
"Mr Hill, a former oil and gas man, has called for a complete halt on all fracking until more research has been conducted looking into claims that people living near sites have an increased risk of congenital heart defects and other health issues. " If these defects are already known, what is the point of further research? Btw, today on Britain's roads there were millions of cars spewing out exhaust fumes which cause heart defects and respiratory problems......just sayin' stevo!!
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Cyril Bolleaux says...

There are natural gas developments all over the UK, including in Sussex on the Downs - you can walk past them on the South Downs Way - they have been there for years. There are huge natural gas developments in the North Sea which are usually manned. All UK oilfields also produce natural gas which is either sold or flared. Again most oilfield developments are manned. Presumably all onshore gas and oilfields and all manned offshore fields need to be closed down immediately? Alternatively is this just propaganda?
There are natural gas developments all over the UK, including in Sussex on the Downs - you can walk past them on the South Downs Way - they have been there for years. There are huge natural gas developments in the North Sea which are usually manned. All UK oilfields also produce natural gas which is either sold or flared. Again most oilfield developments are manned. Presumably all onshore gas and oilfields and all manned offshore fields need to be closed down immediately? Alternatively is this just propaganda? Cyril Bolleaux
  • Score: 1

12:20pm Wed 25 Jun 14

NickBrt says...

Having green mp and councillors increases stress which has a proven link to early death through heart disease.
Having green mp and councillors increases stress which has a proven link to early death through heart disease. NickBrt
  • Score: 8

12:36pm Wed 25 Jun 14

PorkyChopper says...

FC wrote:
This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism.
Another clueless knob joins the Argus commentators.
[quote][p][bold]FC[/bold] wrote: This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism.[/p][/quote]Another clueless knob joins the Argus commentators. PorkyChopper
  • Score: -15

12:55pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Watchdog50 says...

FC wrote:
This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism.
No....It's true!!! But not only heart defects. I've heard that those living within 100 miles of one of these sites can expect to suffer at least one headache each year. Coincidence....I think not! In fact, now I come to think of it, I stubbed my toe getting out of bed this morning and I only live about 38 miles from Balcombe....Anyone got the address for the Lancet? The medical world must hear about this!!!
[quote][p][bold]FC[/bold] wrote: This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism.[/p][/quote]No....It's true!!! But not only heart defects. I've heard that those living within 100 miles of one of these sites can expect to suffer at least one headache each year. Coincidence....I think not! In fact, now I come to think of it, I stubbed my toe getting out of bed this morning and I only live about 38 miles from Balcombe....Anyone got the address for the Lancet? The medical world must hear about this!!! Watchdog50
  • Score: 0

12:59pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Cave Johnson says...

So what are his qualifications? Has he done a peer reviewed study?
So what are his qualifications? Has he done a peer reviewed study? Cave Johnson
  • Score: 4

1:01pm Wed 25 Jun 14

whatone says...

FC wrote:
This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism.
But not quite as 'outrageous' as claims about thalodomide 50 years ago ;-)
[quote][p][bold]FC[/bold] wrote: This is the craziest claim about fracking yet. I know it's not accepted by everyone, but this is as outrageous as the unsubstantiated claims about vaccines causing autism.[/p][/quote]But not quite as 'outrageous' as claims about thalodomide 50 years ago ;-) whatone
  • Score: -1

1:03pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Mark63 says...

Something else for the tree huggers to latch on to - how does anyhting move forward these days?! If coal mining had never happened, where would we be now? We need to look at future options, simple!
Something else for the tree huggers to latch on to - how does anyhting move forward these days?! If coal mining had never happened, where would we be now? We need to look at future options, simple! Mark63
  • Score: 3

7:41pm Wed 25 Jun 14

just-no-one says...

On 23rd June 2014 (Monday) research results were presented to the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago (for those who do not know, The Endocrine Society is dedicated to Hormone Research and the Clinical Practice of Endocrinology).

The research states that many chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing can disrupt the human body's hormone system which can lead to infertility, cancer and birth defects.

Fracking chemicals can not only damage the human’s reproductive hormones but also the glucocorticoid and thyroid hormone receptors, which are necessary to maintain good health.

What Mr Hill is saying, is that MORE RESEARCH should be done before the 'dash for gas' here in the UK.

Why the rush here when there is more and more data proving there are serious health and environmental impacts from drilling for shale gas / oil coming out of the USA, particularly over the last 12 to 18 months.

Anyone who thinks high pressure slick water hydraulic fracturing is the same as the odd nodding donkey dotted around the county is sadly very, very misled. Thousands of wells need to be drilled for this form of energy extraction. Michael Fallon stated yesterday that "unlike conventional oil and gas, shale gas is not concentrated in small high value fields but is likely to be dispersed across large areas with ‘sweet spots’.” (Telegraph)
On 23rd June 2014 (Monday) research results were presented to the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago (for those who do not know, The Endocrine Society is dedicated to Hormone Research and the Clinical Practice of Endocrinology). The research states that many chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing can disrupt the human body's hormone system which can lead to infertility, cancer and birth defects. Fracking chemicals can not only damage the human’s reproductive hormones but also the glucocorticoid and thyroid hormone receptors, which are necessary to maintain good health. What Mr Hill is saying, is that MORE RESEARCH should be done before the 'dash for gas' here in the UK. Why the rush here when there is more and more data proving there are serious health and environmental impacts from drilling for shale gas / oil coming out of the USA, particularly over the last 12 to 18 months. Anyone who thinks high pressure slick water hydraulic fracturing is the same as the odd nodding donkey dotted around the county is sadly very, very misled. Thousands of wells need to be drilled for this form of energy extraction. Michael Fallon stated yesterday that "unlike conventional oil and gas, shale gas is not concentrated in small high value fields but is likely to be dispersed across large areas with ‘sweet spots’.” (Telegraph) just-no-one
  • Score: 2

7:48pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Roundbill says...

"could cause" ... "studies from the USA have suggested" ... "It may be irresponsible" - yeah, he sounds really confident about this woo-wah sciency nonsense, doesn't he? The guy's either a tinfoil-hatted goon, a chancer trying to flog a book, one of Caroline's weird, priapic fanboys, or one of the agents provocateurs that NATO reckons Russia has been using to infiltrate environmental groups.
Or possibly all four.
"could cause" ... "studies from the USA have suggested" ... "It may be irresponsible" - yeah, he sounds really confident about this woo-wah sciency nonsense, doesn't he? The guy's either a tinfoil-hatted goon, a chancer trying to flog a book, one of Caroline's weird, priapic fanboys, or one of the agents provocateurs that NATO reckons Russia has been using to infiltrate environmental groups. Or possibly all four. Roundbill
  • Score: 0

9:26pm Wed 25 Jun 14

Jimmy935 says...

I have read the full report but the information from Mr Hill is a little thin on the ground. Stating that there is a suggested increase of risk of heart defects within 10 miles of a fracking sight doesn't say anything. What is he comparing it to, statistics from 10,20,50 years ago when heart defects, no matter where you live, were lower than now?
He has not quoted any references to these studies either. I'm not saying that he is necessarily wrong but without him giving the full facts then this is just another anti fracking scare tactic until he can prove otherwise.
I have read the full report but the information from Mr Hill is a little thin on the ground. Stating that there is a suggested increase of risk of heart defects within 10 miles of a fracking sight doesn't say anything. What is he comparing it to, statistics from 10,20,50 years ago when heart defects, no matter where you live, were lower than now? He has not quoted any references to these studies either. I'm not saying that he is necessarily wrong but without him giving the full facts then this is just another anti fracking scare tactic until he can prove otherwise. Jimmy935
  • Score: 2

9:40pm Wed 25 Jun 14

HJarrs says...

One thing we definitely know about fracked oil and gas (and it looks like we have frackable oil reserves locally) is that the extraction and burning of these unconventional fossil fuel reserves add gases to the atmosphere that is leading to climate change.
One thing we definitely know about fracked oil and gas (and it looks like we have frackable oil reserves locally) is that the extraction and burning of these unconventional fossil fuel reserves add gases to the atmosphere that is leading to climate change. HJarrs
  • Score: 0

10:11am Thu 26 Jun 14

andrewedmondson says...

Public policy cannot be based on a single small study that has not even been reviewed yet. If it were, progress in many areas would come to a halt.

Dr. Larry Wolk, the state’s Chief Medical Officer, said “people should not rush to judgment” as “many factors known to contribute to birth defects were ignored” in the study.

Of course, it is of concern. So was the MMR scare. The media love shocking headlines. The Argus is no different.

PS Our house is one of the closest to the Balcombe site.
Public policy cannot be based on a single small study that has not even been reviewed yet. If it were, progress in many areas would come to a halt. Dr. Larry Wolk, the state’s Chief Medical Officer, said “people should not rush to judgment” as “many factors known to contribute to birth defects were ignored” in the study. Of course, it is of concern. So was the MMR scare. The media love shocking headlines. The Argus is no different. PS Our house is one of the closest to the Balcombe site. andrewedmondson
  • Score: 0

3:20pm Thu 26 Jun 14

G Wiley says...

HJarrs wrote:
One thing we definitely know about fracked oil and gas (and it looks like we have frackable oil reserves locally) is that the extraction and burning of these unconventional fossil fuel reserves add gases to the atmosphere that is leading to climate change.
@HJarrs - just as much as using oil, coal, natural gas, wood or peat does - so according to you should we stop all these fuels being used? Should all these be 'left in the ground' too?

Why not use methane if it reduces emissions compared to other fossil fuels such as coal and oil - as recommended by the UN study as a mitigation route to full sustainability?

Basically the greens are just naïvely focussed on being anti-fracking and don't have any other practical, costed, published alternative solution at the moment - yes greens - please tell us what do YOU actually propose?

And please don't bring up ZCB (Zero Carbon Britain) without identifying what would actually be required to changes in lifestyle, why it is needed versus a carbon reduction policy, what the costs would be, what the implications would be, and why you think Britain should set an example to the rest of the world?
[quote][p][bold]HJarrs[/bold] wrote: One thing we definitely know about fracked oil and gas (and it looks like we have frackable oil reserves locally) is that the extraction and burning of these unconventional fossil fuel reserves add gases to the atmosphere that is leading to climate change.[/p][/quote]@HJarrs - just as much as using oil, coal, natural gas, wood or peat does - so according to you should we stop all these fuels being used? Should all these be 'left in the ground' too? Why not use methane if it reduces emissions compared to other fossil fuels such as coal and oil - as recommended by the UN study as a mitigation route to full sustainability? Basically the greens are just naïvely focussed on being anti-fracking and don't have any other practical, costed, published alternative solution at the moment - yes greens - please tell us what do YOU actually propose? And please don't bring up ZCB (Zero Carbon Britain) without identifying what would actually be required to changes in lifestyle, why it is needed versus a carbon reduction policy, what the costs would be, what the implications would be, and why you think Britain should set an example to the rest of the world? G Wiley
  • Score: 0

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