Your correspondent, Ray Cope, as a former director of the Gas Consumers’ Council, (“Fracking benefits,” Letter,Dec23) should show some more independent concern over the health implications for consumers of fracked shale gas.
This is what Public Health England’s final report Review of the potential Public Health Impacts of Exposures to Chemical and Radioactive Pollutants as a Result of Shale Gas Extraction Process - published in October 2014 - stated: "If the natural gas delivery point were to be close to the extraction point with a short transit time, radon present in the natural gas would have little time to decay...there is therefore the potential for radon gas to be present in natural gas extracted from UK shale." (http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317140158707)
More recently, an article in the Washington Post on April 10 this year (“Rise of deadly radon gas in Pennsylvania buildings linked to fracking industry,”www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/04/09/rise-of-deadly-radon-gas-in-pennsylvania-buildings-linked-to-fracking-industry/). reported a detailed study in the journal, Environmental Health Perspective, that revealed a “disturbing correlation” between unusually high levels of radon gas in mostly residences and fracking that has become the industry standard over the past decade.
The researchers found that, in the same areas of the state of Pennsylvania as the fracking operations, there was generally higher readings of radon - with about 42% of the readings higher than what is considered safe by federal standards.
Moreover, the researchers discovered that radon levels spiked overall in 2004, at about the same time fracking activity began to pick up.
Two years ago this month, academic researchers at the University of Missouri, released the results of research they had conducted into the known chemicals used in fracking. Their research paper, Estrogen and Androgen Receptor Activities of Hydraulic Fracturing Chemicals and Surface and Ground Water in a Drilling-Dense Region, published in the journal Endocrinology.( Volume 155 Issue 3 - March 2014 http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/en.2013-1697), found higher levels of hormone-disrupting ('gender-bender) activity in water located near fracking wells than in areas without drilling.
These academic research results are not “anti-fracking propaganda, as Mr Cope characterizes criticisms, but part of the “mature debate” for which he calls.