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Chemicals in Oil and Gas Operations


TEDX has addressed the health impacts of natural gas operations in several ways. Our Videos and Webinars webpage contains several presentations by TEDX staff. You can also search our database of chemicals and health effects and read TEDX publications below.

Health Effects Database: Spreadsheet and Summary

TEDX maintains a publicly available database of the potential health effects of chemicals used during natural gas operations. The list currently contains nearly 1,000 products, but it is by no means complete. The data are summarized and discussed in the Summary Statement.

Spreadsheet of products, chemicals and their health effects (Excel).


Summary Statement of the data contained in the Excel spreadsheet (PDF).

Natural Gas Operations from a Public Health Perspective

This TEDX review (PDF) was published in 2011 in Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, an international, peer-reviewed scientific journal. You can purchase the published copy here.

Abstract:  The technology to recover natural gas depends on undisclosed types and amounts of toxic chemicals. A list of 944 products containing 632 chemicals used during natural gas operations was compiled. Literature searches were conducted to determine potential health effects of the 353 chemicals identified by Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers. More than 75% of the chemicals could affect the skin, eyes, and other sensory organs, and the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Approximately 40-50% could affect the brain/nervous system, immune and cardiovascular systems, and the kidneys; 37% could affect the endocrine system; and 25% could cause cancer and mutations. These results indicate that many chemicals used during the fracturing and drilling stages of gas operations may have long-term health effects that are not immediately expressed. In addition, an example was provided of waste evaporation pit residuals that contained numerous chemicals on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA) lists of hazardous substances. The discussion highlights the difficulty of developing effective water quality monitoring programs. To protect public health we recommend full disclosure of the contents of all products, extensive air and water monitoring, coordinated environmental/human health studies, and regulation of fracturing under the U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act.  

Citation: Colborn T, Kwiatkowski C, Schultz K, and Bachran M. 2011. Natural gas operations from a public health perspective. Hum Ecol Risk Assess, 17(5):1039-56.

An Exploratory Study of Air Quality near Natural Gas Operations

This original research study by TEDX was published in 2014 in Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal. More....