Possible Liability for Health Problems Caused by Fracking
Conventional wisdom dictates that the practice of fracking poses a health hazard for those in the immediate vicinity of the fracking site, mostly from the contamination of ground water and exposure to natural gas. However, there are no significant studies that definitely prove this; what studies there are tend to deal with a small sampling and only provide indications, not proof. This has not deterred those in the immediate area of a fracking site who have developed health problems to file lawsuits.
Fracking is the short term for a process called hydraulic fracturing where the ground is broken up by drilling and injection of fluid under high pressure in order to get at the mineral and gas deposits, which are then collected. A study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Studies entitled Environmental Health Perspectives attempted to look into the possible health issues from fracking by taking a sampling of 180 households which had ground-fed wells from a community within the proximal area of a fracking site. The study indicates that there is a positive correlation between proximity of a fracking site with skin and upper respiratory tract problems. People who lived within one kilometer of a site had a higher incidence of rashes, dermatitis, allergies, itchy eyes, and sore throats among other symptoms than those who lived further away.
While the study was not definitive, the researchers consider the matter worrying enough to warrant further investigation to determine if fracking is indeed the cause for these health problems. It was pointed out in the study that the health problems reported by surveyed household members could be due to other factors such as stress or anxiety or contamination in the air or water not connected with natural gas.
Those who are already suffering from health problems should file a lawsuit. With the help of a qualified personal injury lawyer who can present a good circumstantial case, there is a good chance of prevailing and getting compensation. At the very least, the facts of the case go into the record until such time that the health hazard posed by fracking becomes a fact rather than speculation so that the statute of limitations will not be a problem.