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Fracking hormones: Drilling may damage hormones, chemicals affect reproduction

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Fracking and hormones might have a negative correlation together, as the act of hydraulic fracturing — frequently coined as simply fracking — has shown that the drilling process might damage human hormones, and harmful chemicals released at the sites could affect reproduction in a chilling way. Though earthquakes are usually cited as the potential threat that hydraulic fracturing might cause, new studies show it may be our endocrine systems that are the true victims. The National Journal gives insight into this health hazard below the ground this Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013.

Although fracking hormones might sound like a painful procedure at first, the real risk is in fact caused by the fracking process releasing chemicals that are said to possibly interrupt the body’s essential hormones, especially reproductive ones. These chemicals can then filter into drinking water at locations where natural-gas drilling site accidents or leaks occur, and can then damage endocrine functions once in the human body.

“In this study, researchers from the University of Missouri and the U.S. Geological Survey picked 12 suspected or known endocrine-disrupting chemicals and measured their ability to interfere with the body's response to testosterone and estrogen. They collected samples that would contain these chemicals from groundwater at fracking sites that had experienced spills or accidents in a drilling-dense area of Colorado. They also took samples from nearby, spill-free sites with minimal usual drilling.”

The results of the relationship between fracking and hormones were rather harrowing, to say the least. Water samples from these active hydraulic fracturing sites revealed that the water had significantly increased levels of dangerous chemicals, particularly those that could pose a threat to the endocrine system and reproductive hormones, than areas with little to no drilling. The elevated existence of such damaging chemicals increases the chance of people living in these locales risking a variety of health problems, concluded researchers.

Added the Journal’s report:

“Fracking is not the only source of endocrine-disrupting chemicals, however. These substances are everywhere, and have been for years. They exist in our drinking water, plastic food containers and furniture. They can mimic or interfere with hormones, as well as increase or decrease hormone production. Their presence has beenlinked to cancer, birth defects, and infertility.”

At this point in time under governmental law, fracking is not held under total federal regulation as cited within the Safe Drinking Water Act, though some regulations are in place.

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