Toxic Chemicals Used in Fracking Shale Deposits

by Catherine J. Frompovich

Some cartoons or something thought to be ‘comedic’ or contradicts “logic” routinely have been referred to as “Frick and Frack” cartoons. This website shows numerous illustrations of what this writer would call “illogical logic.”

Nothing is more illogical, perhaps, than fracking—the newest craze in energy production that finds fossil fuel providers fracking everywhere, including backyards.

Cows graze on farmland near Wyalusing, Pa., as fracking takes place in the background.
The process extracts natural gas from shale. / AP file photo  

Fracking in the backyard / Photo Source 

Well water that’s been fracked. / Photo Source

How about drinking water volatility? See this YouTube video for a spectacular example: Kitchen faucet water flaming.

To learn more about fracking, maybe readers will want to watch a 36 minute video “Fracking, An Inconvenient Truth.” .

However, what’s most important to know about fracking is what’s used to frack shale deposits to extract gas deposits. The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce issued a report on April 18, 2011 titled, “Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracking” [1] wherein 750 chemicals were listed. Fourteen commonly are used, and probably are carcinogenic. They included:

  • Acrylamide
  • Acetaldehyde
  • Benzene
  • Benzyl Chloride
  • Diesel
  • Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
  • Ethylene Oxide
  • Formaldehyde
  • Lead [metal/mineral]
  • Naphthalene
  • Nitrilotriacetic Acid
  • Propylene Oxide
  • Sulfuric Acid
  • Thiourea [genotoxic carcinogen] [5, pg.4]

According to that CEC report,

Some of the components used in the hydraulic fracturing products were common and generally harmless, such as salt and citric acid. Some were unexpected, such as instant coffee and walnut hulls. And some were extremely toxic, such as benzene and lead. Appendix A lists each of the 750 chemicals and other components used in hydraulic fracturing products between 2005 and 2009.

The most widely used chemical in hydraulic fracturing during this time period, as measured by the number of compounds containing the chemical, was methanol. Methanol, which was used in 342 hydraulic fracturing products, is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the list for potential regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Some of the other most widely used chemicals were isopropyl alcohol (used in 274 products), 2-butoxyethanol (used in 126 products), and ethylene glycol (used in 119 products). [1, pg.1] [CJF emphasis added. So why allow methanol in fracking?]

Ironically, that same CEC report went on to state:

Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas service companies used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are (1) known or possible human carcinogens, (2) regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or (3) listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. These 29 chemicals were components of more than 650 different products used in hydraulic fracturing. [1, pg.1] [CJF emphasis added. Why are there no controls on fracking chemicals?]

Now, here’s the CEC’s candor about fracking and yet no one is doing anything to stop the insanity of what’s going on regarding ‘frack’ the public:

Some of these chemicals, if not disposed of safely or allowed to leach into the drinking water supply, could damage the environment or pose a risk to human health. During hydraulic fracturing, fluids containing chemicals are injected deep underground, where their migration is not entirely predictable. Well failures, such as the use of insufficient well casing, could lead to their release at shallower depths, closer to drinking water supplies.4 Although some fracturing fluids are removed from the well at the end of the fracturing process, a substantial amount remains underground.5 [1, pg.3] [CJF emphasis added]

Congress IS to blame, as you can read from this in that report. Lobbyists’ money talks, I’d say!

While most underground injections of chemicals are subject to the protections of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), Congress in 2005 modified the law to exclude “the underground injection of fluids or propping agents (other than diesel fuels) pursuant to hydraulic fracturing operations related to oil, gas, or geothermal production activities” from the Act’s protections.6 Unless oil and gas service companies use diesel in the hydraulic fracturing process, the permanent underground injection of chemicals used for hydraulic fracturing is not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). [1, pg.3] [CJF emphasis added]

Apparently, irresponsible Congress gave the fossil fuel suppliers and drillers a similar “get out of jail free card” in 2005 – similar to what Congress gave vaccine manufacturers about their toxic vaccines in 1986. This type of congressional action seems to have lobbyists’ fingerprints all over modifications to the laws to excluded underground injection fluids or propping agents. No wonder those fracking drills are popping up all over, just like three hundred or more vaccines are in the new development pipelines, especially when industries have congressionally-approved “get out of jail free cards” handed to them.

When will the gullible U.S. public, plus the monopolized media, get their heads out of the sand?

But dear readers, here’s the real slap-in-the-face to consumers’ health by every health agency and oversight department at federal, state and local levels:

Under OSHA regulations, manufacturers may withhold the identity of chemical components that constitute “trade secrets.”15 [1, pg.5] [CJF emphasis added]

What most U.S. citizens probably do not know is that under the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the chemical industry in the U.S. can stamp “trade secret” on a new chemical and about two-thirds of the chemicals introduced since then have had that label that allows their contents to remain “unknown and secret.” Furthermore, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “Industry has placed ‘confidential business information’ (CBI) claims on the identity of 13,596 new chemicals produced since 1976…” [2]


“The chemical industry has turned TSCA – a law once thought to protect people and the environment – into its own witness protection program, where it has safely stashed the very existence of thousands of chemicals behind the doors at EPA,” said Richard Wiles, Senior VP for Policy and Communications at EWG. “Mafia informants don’t enjoy the level of protection these secret chemicals receive under the federal toxics law,” added Wiles. [2]

Probably the most insidious and unknown releases from fracking are radioactive emitters such as Radon-222 [3] and Polonium-210[4], which are released from the shale as drilling heads penetrate the strata for thousands of feet disturbing heretofore solid walls of shale.

The other probability that accompanies fracking is inducing man-made earthquakes. The U.S. Geological Survey website “Man-Made Earthquakes Update” can acquaint readers with that possibility.

Purify Your Drinking Water - Wellness Carafe Cartridges
Seismicity of the coterminous United States and surrounding regions, 2009–2012. 

Black dots denote earthquakes with a magnitude ≥ 3.0 are shown; larger dots denote events with a magnitude ≥ 4.0. Background colors indicate earthquake hazard levels from the U.S. National Seismic Hazard Map (NSHM). Learn more about the NSHM here.

And the last, if not most important issue, regarding fracking is this: Since fracking is so prevalent anyone who has a well as their domestic water supply should have it tested by a reputable water testing laboratory for all the regular tests, i.e, bacteria and pesticides, plus radioactive elements and, now, a panel of fracking chemicals. That ought to be done at least once a year, but every 6 months would be safer, in my opinion—similar to going to the dentist to make certain you don’t have any health problems that start with the teeth—so you can assess “how well your well really is.”

Here are some Internet sites that can help readers understand the necessity of proper well water testing. Please know that this writer has no interest in any of them and is not paid to recommend any. I do this because of my concern for the quality of both your water and overall health.

Baseline Testing / The most important thing to do before fracking begins

State of Maine’s Water Tests Available / A listing of numerous water tests and prices for them as an idea of what’s out there to use as a guide

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Environmental Fact Sheet / Water Quality Testing for Private Wells

This site discusses water testing for fluoride and Nitrates-Nitrites.

Northeast Laboratory Services / Water Testing Kits

Here’s to clean water!

[2] News Release – Off the Books: Industry’s Secret Chemicals published Jan. 4, 2010 by EWG

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on

Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008).

How Clean is Your Water?  Test it with the Drinking Water Test

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