Abstract

Unconventional resources offer many substantial benefits as energy sources and chemical feedstocks. Natural gas is abundant, affordable, clean burning, increases energy security, and provides significant economic benefits at local and national levels. Yet, the rapid increase in production of these resources from unconventional shales using the process of hydraulic fracturing has generated scrutiny by some policymakers and advocates who cite health concerns. The industry, through the American Petroleum Institute (API), is taking steps to assess all legitimate health concerns, communicate our findings, and ensure that public health is adequately protected. API recently formed the Exploration and Production (E&P) Health Issues Group to provide research, scientific analysis, and guidance on health issues regarding Unconventional Resource Production (URP). The Group is particularly focused on community health concerns, including those associated with the compositions of hydraulic fracturing fluid and flowback, aquifer impacts, air emissions, and psycho-social stress related to operations. URP is an industrial activity that carries benefits and potential risks, similar to conventional resources. The risks must be identified, assessed and effectively managed. The work being performed and communicated by this API Group will help to ensure that any potential health risks from production of unconventional resources are identified, evaluated, appropriately communicated, and managed to enhance public confidence and ensure protection of public health.

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