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Tags: epa | toxic | chemicals | oiling | fracking

NY Times: EPA Approved Toxic Chemicals for Drilling, Fracking 10 Years Ago

NY Times: EPA Approved Toxic Chemicals for Drilling, Fracking 10 Years Ago
Pump jacks operate at dusk near Loco Hills on April 23, 2020 in Eddy County, New Mexico. (Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 12 July 2021 03:13 PM

The Environmental Protection Agency has allowed the use of potentially dangerous chemicals in drilling for oil and in fracking during the past 10 years, the New York Times reported Monday.

Chemicals that can break down into toxic substances known as PFAS — a class of long-lasting compounds known to pose a threat to people and wildlife – have been pumped into the ground to ease the flow of oil from the ground, according to EPA internal documents, the Times reported.

In 2011, the EPA approved the use of the chemicals despite the agency's own serious concerns about the toxicity, according to the documents reviewed by the Times.

The EPA's approval of the three chemicals hadn't been disclosed publicly, said the Times, which added the records only gave a generic name for the chemicals: fluorinated acrylic alkylamino copolymer.

Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by a nonprofit group, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the records are among the first public indications that PFAS might be present in the fluids used during drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

In an Oct. 26, 2011 consent order issued for the three chemicals, EPA scientists said that, under some conditions, the chemicals could "degrade in the environment" into substances akin to PFOA, a kind of PFAS chemical, and could "persist in the environment" and "be toxic to people, wild mammals, and birds."

The scientists pointed to preliminary evidence, and recommended additional testing. However, the Times said those tests were not mandatory, and there is no indication they were completed.

"The E.P.A. identified serious health risks associated with chemicals proposed for use in oil and gas extraction, and yet allowed those chemicals to be used commercially with very lax regulation," Physicians for Social Responsibility researcher Dusty Horwitt, researcher told the Times.

The documents reviewed by the Times were redacted heavily because the EPA allows companies to invoke trade-secret claims to keep basic information on new chemicals from public release. Even the name of the company that applied for approval is redacted.

The Times reported that an identification number for one of the chemicals issued by the EPA appears in separate agency data and identifies Chemours, previously Dupont, as the submitter.

Although no public data says where the chemicals have been used, the FracFocus database, which tracks chemicals used in fracking, shows that about 120 companies used PFAS or chemicals that can break down into PFAS in more than 1,000 wells between 2012-20 in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Wyoming, according to the Times.

The Times said not all states require companies to report chemicals to the database, so the number of wells could be higher.

EPA spokesman Nick Conger told the Times that the Biden administration has made addressing PFAS a top priority, and has proposed a rule requiring all manufacturers and importers of PFAS since 2011 to disclose more information on the chemicals, including their environmental and health effects.

Both Congress and the Biden administration have moved to better regulate PFAS, which contaminate the drinking water of as many as 80 million Americans, the Times reported.

Chemours, which in the past has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to settle injury claims related to PFOA pollution, did not provide comment to the Times.

An Exxon spokesman said, "We do not manufacture PFAS," and Chevron did not respond to a Times request for comment.

The Times said the presence of PFAS in oil and gas extraction threatens many people  — oil-field employees and emergency workers, people who live near, or downstream from, drilling sites — with a class of chemicals scrutinized for links to cancer, birth defects, and other serious health problems.

© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The Environmental Protection Agency has allowed the use of potentially dangerous chemicals in drilling for oil and in fracking during the past 10 years...
epa, toxic, chemicals, oiling, fracking
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2021-13-12
Monday, 12 July 2021 03:13 PM
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