Study authors say the chemical likely comes from a mix of raw gas that's vented from wells and emissions from industrial equipment used during the fracking process. Typically, dozens of trucks containing chemicals are needed to frack a well. Researchers took weekly air samples at a site within a mile of 130 gas wells in Garfield County, Colorado. They detected the chemicals between July 2010 and October 2011, including 44 chemicals that have been shown to affect health. The highest concentrations were measured after new wells were drilled, but concentrations didn't increase as wells were fracked, Song reports.
Lack of funding and access to drilling sites hindered researchers' ability to definitively link gas fields to air pollutants, but because the research was conducted in an area with few people and roads, "natural gas drilling would be the first thing anyone would look at," study author Carol Kwiatkowski said. She said the study shows a need for more research in all stages of gas production. (Read more)