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Fracking, fertility and birth defects- a problem or just hype?

fracking-dvobgynIn our countries' race for energy independence, an new technique has been developed called fracking (hydraulic fracturing) in which high pressure fluid is injected into rock in order to extract fossil fuels such as natural gas. Besides water and sand, a number of other chemicals are injected into the rock, including some chemicals called endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disrupters can interfere with how the hormones in the body work and a number of these are found in the environment. A recent study the journal Endocrinology, suggests these endocrine disruptors may be found in higher doses in areas close to fracking sites, raising public concern about when this might be a public health hazard.  While fracking may result in higher levels of these endocrine disruptors in the environment, it is not clear whether these levels are high enough to be concern to reproductive health issues such as affecting fertility or birth defect rates.