New report on the threats to drinking water from hydraulic fracturing

Our colleagues at the Environmental Working Group today released a new report on some of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluids. EWG concludes that companies that drill for natural gas and oil are skirting federal law by using petroleum distillates in hydraulic fracturing fluids. "These distillates include kerosene, mineral spirits and a number of other petroleum products that often contain high levels of benzene, a known human carcinogen that is toxic in water at minuscule levels."

According to EWG, the petroleum distillates used in a single well could contain enough benzene to contaminate more than 100 billion gallons of drinking water to unsafe levels--more than 10 times as much water as the state of New York uses in a single day.