As a recent letter to the editor exemplifies, anti-fracking activists have been trying to push the claim that shale development will cause widespread birth defects and cancer, but those claims (and activists) have been debunked time and time again.
The latest example can be found in a recent Colorado School of Public Health report, which tries to find a link between birth defects and natural gas development. The report was highly criticized for its faulty methodology — most notably by Dr. Larry Wolk, chief medical officer of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). As Dr. Wolk said, Colorado health officials “disagree with many of the specific associations with the occurrence of birth defects” in the study and that a reader “could easily be misled to become overly concerned.”
Further, the CDPHE conducted its own studies near well pads and found no concentrations of benzene that would threaten public health. Regulators in Texas, West Virginia and Pennsylvania have also completed extensive studies finding no credible health risk associated with shale development.
There are letter writers to this publication who frequently throw mud against the wall in hopes that something will stick that supports their extreme anti-fracking agenda. It’s time to retire these debunked talking points so that Coloradans can have constructive conversations, based on facts, about the future of oil and gas development in our state.