New Report: Fracking with “Forever Chemicals” in Colorado
A new report by Physicians for Social Responsibility provides evidence of oil and gas companies using dangerous PFAS “forever chemicals” in Colorado wells, while “trade secret” laws limit the public’s ability to know the full extent of their use.
FracTracker Alliance assisted Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) with mapping on a report released today that takes a closer look at the presence of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) in hydraulic fracturing fluid in the state of Colorado.
PTFE, also known under the name brand of Teflon, is one of a class of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) known as “forever chemicals” because they persist in the environment and the body for very long periods of time. Such chemicals have significant and varied health risks as well, including increased cholesterol, reduced birth weight, a decreased vaccine response in children, and an increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer, according the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Colorado Wells Fracked with PTFE and Trade Secret Chemicals, 2011-2021
This map shows wells in Colorado that were fracked with PTFE, trade secret surfactants, or other trade secret chemicals, per self-reported data to FracFocus. Please click the right arrow at the top-right corner of the screen to access the Details section and learn more
In order to turn layers on and off in the map, use the Layers dropdown menu. This tool is only available in Full Screen view.
The ultimate source of the data is the industry’s self-reported chemical registry for hydraulic fracturing, FracFocus. And yet, the system does not require full disclosure of chemicals if the well operators claim that the ingredients in the frack fluid cocktail are a trade secret. For that reason, the wells that were investigated in Colorado were expanded beyond just those known to contain PTFE (n=233) to also show wells that were fracked with proprietary surfactants (n=3,221), which is the purposed frequently cited for PTFE in the FracFocus data, as well as those containing any proprietary chemicals (n=12,623), as the purpose for using the secret chemical often wasn’t disclosed or clear in the dataset.
To learn more about the role of PTFE in fracking and its effects on human health, please see PSR’s report.
References & Where to Learn More
- Read the report: https://www.psr.org/blog/new-report-fracking-with-forever-chemicals-in-colorado/
- PSR will be hosting a webinar on the report February 2nd, 4-5 PM ET/ 2-3 PM Mountain time. Link to register here: https://www.psr.org/blog/event/webinar-fracking-with-pfas-in-colorado/
- In July 2021, FracTracker released a map based on research conducted by Physicians for Social Responsibility identifying the locations of over 1,200 oil and gas wells using toxic “forever chemicals” in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, and Wyoming. Go to the map: https://www.fractracker.org/2021/07/mapping-pfas-forever-chemicals-in-oil-gas-operations/
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