As Jim Nabors used to say to Sgt. Carter in the 1960s sitcom "Gomer Pyle": Surprise, surprise, surprise!
That’s the way we felt when a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia determined that for 15 million Americans living within one mile of sites for fracking sites — a relatively new and unconventional oil and gas drilling process — exposure to the chemicals released "may be harmful to human health" and "can result in adverse reproductive health and developmental defects."
They conducted the largest review yet of research looking at the effects of fracking byproducts on human reproductive and developmental health.
They found what they considered "strong evidence" that exposure to air and water pollution caused by fracking decreased semen quality in men, caused higher rates of miscarriage in women and increased risk of birth defects in children.
"Well gollll-eee!" They're calling for further studies.
The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has heard enough. He banned the controversial practice, citing the science as well as public health and economic issues.
So, what can you do?
If you live near a gas drilling site and your water comes from a local source, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests that you have your water tested for heavy metals, organic chemicals, chloride, sodium, barium and strontium.
Your local health department may test private well water for free. If you use a private testing lab, make sure they're certified for drinking water tests.
Next, speak to your local or county government representative. A law that requires anyone who profits from a fracking site to drink the local water could be effective.
In fact, we bet pollution problems would magically disappear, just as Gomer said: "Shazam!"
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