Fracking PR

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The “offer” by Ineos chairman Jim Ratcliffe to share the profits from fracking (your report, 30 September) is a cynical PR exercise.

The oil and gas industry which Mr Ratcliffe represents says that 99.5 per cent of all fluids used in fracking are harmless.

In the USA, the Environmental Protection Agency last year identified about 1,000 chemicals the oil and gas industry uses in fracking operations, most of them carcinogens at the strengths they shove into the earth.

What is known is that among the most common chemicals in fracking fluids, in addition to arsenic, are: benzene, which can lead to leukaemia and several cancers, reduce white blood cell production in bones, and cause genetic mutation; formaldehyde, which can cause leukaemia and genetic and birth defects; and hydrofluoric acid, which can cause genetic mutation and chronic lung disease, cause third degree burns, affect bone structure, the central nervous system, and cause cardiac arrest.

There is also nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide, which can cause pulmonary oedema and heart disease; radon, which has strong links to lung cancer; and toluene, which in higher doses can produce nausea, muscle weakness, and memory and hearing loss.

Now, let’s go back to the industry’s claim of innocence – that 99.5 per cent of all fluids shoved into the earth are completely harmless.

Assuming only five million gallons of pure river water are necessary for one frack at one well, that means at least 25,000 gallons are toxic.

Alan Hinnrichs

Gillespie Terrace