Women’s experiences of fracking

A new study of women’s health in the rural Appalachian region of the United States reveals the extent of the physical, psychological and social impacts of fracking on their daily lives.

The researchers, who are themselves nurse-practitioners, interviewed fourteen women of between thirty-five and eighty-nine years old, living in south-western Pennsylvania, in counties where fracking is most prevalent.

Here are some of their findings, in the interviewees’ own words:

“We were tested for chemicals we were inhaling off the impalements and it came back showing that we had moderate levels of benzene and toluene in us… so it was like once we got our water problems straightened out, then we were dealing with the problem of the air… That was making us more sick, especially when the weather started getting more hot and humid,and the air wasn’t moving.”

“I just feel so unhealthy… I’m just exhausted… I cry all the time…
I don’t want to get this upset… it’s just hard watching my
kids be sick because they have always been so healthy.”

“I am stressed out to the end of my rope.”

“I cannot go outside due to the (silicon) dust that is on my
house and windows. I can’t breathe.”

“I have rashes and problems breathing from the blue ‘frack fog’.” [Woman living downwind from a pond used for fracking waste liquids]

“They drained all the chemicals out (from the waste water pits) as of two or three weeks ago. I bought cancer insurance for all of us before it’s too late, just so we are ready for what the future brings.”

“There’s power pressing down on you, and it’s all about money. You can’t fight, you can’t talk. No one will listen.”

“We live here for a reason. My great grandfather lived here. My dad grew up here. I love my kitchen. And I mean it’s just a house and my kid’s health is not worth us staying here. But at the same time, this is our house and we want to be here.”

“We had to move out because it had gotten so bad… the smell was horrible… we had terrible headaches, sore throats, burning in our eyes, nose and …  mouth. You feel like you can’t swallow… you feel like you can’t breathe when you’re outside.”

“We’re afraid to come home yet because we don’t want to re-expose…”

“Since we’ve been away from the chemicals, it’s been better… we are
trying to live in three different places…”

“There is so much noise, 24/7… There are lights all the time because of the flaring… My nice stable quiet country life has become a day to day chaos and it is unfortunate. That quiet county life is gone and it’s the reason we stayed here and lived here.”

“… just the trucks up and down the road 24/7 is a constant aggravation. They [the truckers] can hit small pets… they run over things.”

“It’s like the television show the X Files where the white trucks come in.”

“We might be country but we aren’t stupid.”

“I was accused of poisoning my elderly father because he got sick at home but improved once hospitalized. I realized later that it was the
contaminated well water at our home and I was the one encouraging
him to drink because he had an indwelling catheter.”

“It’s like living in a science fiction movie. I feel like I am stuck in a bad dream… they (the government) allow it to happen. They don’t care.”

Read the full report here.

Image by Famartin under Creative Commons licence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *