10 Reasons Fracking May Be Hazardous to Your Child’s Health


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This post was written by Ellen Webb and Molly Rauch:

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formally finalized the country’s first ever methane emissions standards for the oil and gas industry. The rule will help fight climate change by supporting the Obama Administrator’s goal of cutting 2012 levels of methane emissions by up to 45 percent by 2025.

The rule comes at a time when evidence about the hazards of air pollution from oil and gas is growing. Every stage of the oil and gas “lifecycle” can lead to air and water pollution, and certain populations are vulnerable to this pollution. Two new resources from our organizations highlight the health hazards faced by infants and children in particular: A fact sheet from Moms Clean Air Force on how oil and gas operations can impact your babies’ health; and a peer-reviewed paper from the Center for Environmental Health and fellow advocates reviewing how fracking can affect infant and children’s respiratory health.

At a time when methane emissions from oil and gas are facing first-ever federal regulations, it is important to note that methane isn’t the only pollutant emitted from these sites. A host of other dangerous air pollutants come out right alongside methane, and where methane is reduced, so will these other pollutants decline.

Here are 10 reasons why fracking may be hazardous to your child’s health.

  1. Children are not little adults. Children are more vulnerable to harm from air pollution than adults because their bodies are growing and changing. The respiratory system is particularly vulnerable during development in-utero, the postnatal period, and early childhood. Children also behave differently from adults, often spending more time playing and running outside. This puts them at greater risk from exposure to air pollutants.

We applaud that the EPA has taken an important step to reduce methane emissions. But it is just the first step. EPA must address all sources of methane pollution. The new rule deals only with the methane that will be emitted from new and modified sources, leaving untouched all existing sources of methane pollution from oil and gas operations. This leaves our children vulnerable to the health impacts of fracking. For the sake of our children, it’s time to clean up the pollution at all fracking sites, not just the ones that have yet to be built.

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Ellen Webb is Healthy Energy Sciences and Advocacy Manager for Center for Environmental Health.

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Molly Rauch is Public Health Policy Director for Moms Clean Air Force.


We are more than 1 million moms and dads united against air pollution — including the urgent crisis of our changing climate — to protect our children’s health.

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