Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction)

About this Report

The Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking (the Compendium) is a fully referenced compilation of the evidence outlining the risks and harms of fracking.
The Compendium is organized to be accessible to public officials, researchers, journalists, and the public at large. In addition, the Compendium is complemented by a fully searchable, near-exhaustive citation database of peer-reviewed journal articles pertaining to shale gas and oil extraction, the Repository for Oil and Gas Energy Research, that was developed by PSE Healthy Energy and which is housed on its website (https://www.psehealthyenergy.org/our-work/shale-gas-research-library/).
For this fifth edition of the Compendium, as prior ones, we collected and compiled findings from three sources: articles from peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals; investigative reports by journalists; and reports from, or commissioned by, government agencies. Peer-reviewed articles were identified through databases such as PubMed and Web of Science, and from within the PSE Healthy Energy database. Our entries briefly describe studies that document harm, or risk of harm, associated with fracking and summarize the principal findings.
The studies and investigations referenced in the dated entries catalogued in Compilation of Studies & Findings are current through December 2017.
In our review of the data, seventeen compelling themes emerged; these serve as the organizational structure of the Compendium. Readers will notice the ongoing upsurge in reported problems and health impacts, making each section top-heavy with recent data.
The Compendium focuses on topics most closely related to the public health and safety impacts of unconventional gas and oil drilling and fracking. We also include in this edition a section on risks from fracking infrastructure that focuses on compressor stations, pipelines, silica sand mining operations, natural gas storage facilities, and, for the first time, the manufacture and transportation of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Given the rapidly expanding body of evidence related to the harms and risks of unconventional oil and gas extraction, we plan to continue revising and updating the Compendium approximately every year. It is a living document, housed on the websites of Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Read more about the process and scope of our work in the “About this Report” and the “Foreword to the Fifth Edition” sections of the Compendium.

Download the full 5th Edition of the Compendium