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Air & Water Pollution

Luckily, we do not drill for methane gas in DC. But in communities where the gas we burn in DC is drilled – through a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking – the process contaminates groundwater and emits noxious fumes into the air.

Fracking requires huge quantities of water, which is mixed with toxic chemicals and pumped into the ground to crack open layers of rock and release gas. Dirty energy companies involved in fracking refuse to divulge what chemicals they mix into their toxic solvent. When the fracking water comes back to the surface it may carry toxic and even radioactive chemicals, which can contaminate underground water supplies, rivers, and streams.

Air and water contaminants released from fracking include:

  • Benzene, a known carcinogen linked to leukemia, anemia, reproductive and developmental disorders;
  • Toluene, which can affect the nervous system, cause irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, and result in birth defects;
  • Xylenes, which may cause irritation of the nose and throat, nausea, vomiting, gastric irritation, and neurological effects;
  • Nitrogen oxides, which cause respiratory inflammation and aggravate asthma; and
  • Methane, ethane, and propane, which can cause rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, fatigue, vomiting, convulsions, and at greater exposure, coma and death.

By continuing to drive demand for methane gas by burning it in DC’s homes and buildings, we’re participating in the destruction and harm that fracking causes to our neighbors in Pennsylvania and beyond. For their sake, and ours, it’s time to move DC Beyond Gas.