Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Fracking could unleash a host of new horrors

Enough already, you say. Give over about the fracking. I'm sick of it. It's not going to affect me. Why should I care?

How's this for a reason: Betx (Benzene, Ethyl Benzene, Toluene and Xylene)?

They are just four of the nasties locked in the bowels of the earth which will be brought to the surface along with the methane gas.

They have the potential to contaminate ground water, lakes, rivers and soil.

They are also volatile, which means they can blow in the wind (for up to 300km, according to studies).

They have the ability to make you very ill in many ways - affecting your airways, your skin and your internal organs, but here are some to remember.

Benzene causes cancer, particularly leukaemia. Toluene causes birth-defects (the babies have a very particular appearance with a very small mid face, deeply sunken eyes, receding jawline and blunt finger-tips. They are also brain-damaged.).

Ethyl Benzene causes liver and kidney damage and repeated exposure to Xylene damages the bone-marrow.

The rivers don't know where the border is and the wind is not going to stay west of the Bann. Maybe you should care.

DR GERALYN McCARRON

Tempo, Co Fermanagh

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