Toothpaste More Dangerous Than Fracking, "Expert" Says

It's okay, people. We've been blowing this whole fracking thing way out of proportion. Dr. Barry Stevens of TBD America sets the record straight in hopes that we'll re-align our focus and concentrate on the real issues at hand, which, by the way, is not fracking (Spoiler Alert: it's toothpaste).

Over at, Dr. Stevens has provided an exhaustive retort to some “environmentalist” who posed the question, “if hydraulic fracturing is so safe, why do drilling operators working in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale Play dispose the backflow out of state in Ohio?”

Let me summarize some of Dr. Steven's salient points for you:

Earthquakes really aren't that big a deal.

“…injection well seismicity typically ranges from 1 to 4 on the Richter scale and rarely cause damage.”

Sure, Youngstown, Ohio, where the earthquakes happened, may have never had them before, but that doesn't mean anything. The State Representative there is just going way overboard in calling for an indefinite moratorium there. The citizens should really be thinking of it as a free city-wide massage. Besides, the D&L Energy said it will be conducting its own investigation. I’m sure they’ll find it’s nothing to worry about.

It's only a few chemicals.

“The fracturing fluid is a proprietary mixture consisting of at least 98% water and sand with the remaining 2%, or less, of chemical additives, each having a specific function. Although there are dozens to hundreds of chemicals, which could be used as additives, typically, there are no more than 12 chemicals used in the fracturing process.  Most of the additives are commonly used household or personal care items, which pose little or no health risks.  However, a limited number are classified hazardous substances.”

ONLY 12, GUYS. Those chemicals could be shampoo, kitty litter, or arsenic, not that we would know because the companies won't release that information, but you know, we should trust him anyway because he's a doctor. It's not worth much concern, unless toothpaste is one of the household chemicals- then we better watch out.

I thought the actual reason gas companies are dumping fracking fluid in Ohio was because we never really forgave the state for helping re-elect Bush, but clearly, according to this article, it's because Ohio's geography is just better suited (don't pay attention to the fact that the rest of that article tries to explain why fracking is causing problems in Ohio).

It's totally safe.

“Since the 1960s, there have only a handful of incidents due to direct contact or chemical migration into aquifers.”

Exactly, just like there have only been a handful of oil spills. Just like those diluted into the ocean, any incidents with natural gas will just dilute itself into the groundwater.

“Both horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing are established technologies with a significant track record; horizontal drilling dates back to the 1930s; and hydraulic fracturing has a history actually going back as far as 1860’s, when nitroglycerine was used to stimulate shallow, hard-rock oil reserves, it was surprisingly very successful and not so surprising very hazardous and often illegal.”

Let's face facts; we have a long history with fracking, which makes it safe, even if it wasn't technically safe before (or exactly the same). Besides, if it's successful, who cares?

“These two processes have allowed shale gas development to move into areas that previously were not accessible, literally your backyard.”

It's just like your leaky gas grill.

“There are few, if any, known cases of anyone being hospitalized or harmed from chemical contact with the fracturing fluid and/or its flowback…proper geology, construct and cement the casing, and manage the handling, injecting and disposal have just about eliminated problems and complaints.”

He forgot to mention the super lucrative offer when you sign a non-disclosure agreement to “eliminate your complaint.”

And seriously, in comparison to fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal, look how dangerous toothpaste is:

Poison Center Control reports between 1989 and 1994, 12,571 reports were found from people who had ingested excess toothpaste. Of these calls, 2 peopleprobably both children – experienced “major medical outcomes”, defined as “signs or symptoms that are life-threatening or result in significant residual disability or disfigurement.”

As opposed to:

Since 2001, 69 oil workers have been killed on the job, with more than 1,300 injuries and around 800 fires,” and “Since 2001, there have been more than 60 deaths per year in coal mines, with annual injuries in the tens of thousands.”

See, totally in perspective.

All this concern over fracking is just silly because you really should be concerned about toothpaste, and also, deicing salt, dry cleaning, the chemicals in household products (except the ones used in fracking fluid), garbage, and the toxicity of children's toys instead.

And with all his previous experience with RCA, CBS, Kodak, and Radioshack, he totally knows what he's talking about. I mean, his CV even says that he's been figuring out how to drive energy development projects to “higher levels of profitability” for over a decade! Business and environmental science are practically interchangeable.

Even so, when you get your information from Energy Facts PA, you can't really go wrong. I'm sure the Commonwealth Foundation, who runs Energy Facts PA, is completely unbiased on environmental issues (especially when their mission statement hearts free-markets and liberty).

So stop worrying about fracking.

Four out of five industry men recommend it.


So here’s a fracking story…

The perf gun (shaped charges, designed to blow a hole in the concrete lining of an oil well) comes out of the well with one charge still on the gun.  The operator leans over and points at the charge with his pencil and says “Look at that, it didn’t go off.”  *Pow!* (They figure ESD lept from the pencil to the charge, setting it off.)

Appearently we contain a lot of intestines…  they were blown all over the rig site.

There are many related deaths with H2S leaks at well sites, and waste water disposal.  10PPM you smell rotten eggs, 100PPM, you suffer from oxygen asphyxiation, and 300PPM, your nervous system instantly stops.   H2S is soluable in water, and is released when agitated.  (Got good shocks on those waste water trucks?)

Come to think of it… Why do I have to take so many safety courses to go to rigs and I have to take no courses to brush my teeth?

Yes, obviously working on any rig, gas or oil, is very dangerous and sometimes deadly. And to compare any of that to a supposed threst in toothpaste is really stupid.

But the bigger point, for me, is to look at the reason for all these gas fracking stories get posted on Desmog; You guys obviously want to stop any and all attempts to take ANY fossil fuels out of the ground! But it’s never going to happen, you need to realize that fact.

The US is gung-ho on fracking and drilling now. It’s part of Obama’s new “All of the above” energy program. And for that matter, all that coal we used to burn and all that tar sands oil from Canada is going to be sold overseas if not burnt here so what is the point? They’re even talking about exporting natural gas (from all the cheap fracking) to the UK now.

This stuff is going to be exploited whether we like it or not!

Fossil fuel = BIG $$$$.

Renewable energey = BIG losses for taxpayers.

Peope aren’t stupid, they know this!

These are the facts of life in the US, ok?

I didn’t vote you down… but I don’t know why you dump on Desmogblog even as you agree with the article.

Why aren’t you ragging on Fox for being utterly paid off by oil companies?  I mean.. even the Muppets had a hay day with their oil fueled stupidity.

Personally, I’m on the fence about Fracking.

It doesn’t seem safe.  They’ve had to silence all opposition and specifically eliminated laws regulating water quality.

In Pennsylvania, your doctor is allowed to treat you for symptoms of ingesting fracking fluids, but they aren’t legally allowed to tell you that is what happened.  Why would oil companies need that kind of law passed I wonder?  Why would you trust an industry like that?

Furthermore, fracking doesn’t seem like something to even attempt to promote.  We have a glut of Gas in North America which they are now trying to export.  Unseasonably warm weather, likely caused by global warming is also killing demand.  So why do we need to trash more American and Canadian farms for foreign exports?  (The whole ‘need’ thing isn’t there.)

All that being said, the rate of incidence is low.

My favorite… What is the oil industry’s standard for cleaning trees?  We had a frack in Alberta blow out another oil well.  I was all over the place including the trees.  But the industry says that never happens to water wells…  it only oil wells.  Hmmm….

I’d feel better if the industry actually let people see real numbers instead of lying all the time.

Furthermore keeping real numbers from the people and industry only serves to improve profits and delay solving the associated problems.  If you don’t know there’s a problem, you can’t and won’t solve it.

What kind of idiot are you?  Do you have any excuse?  Or are you that retarded.

(I’m personally sick of the ‘pollution is free’ canard you and your ilk promote. But that’s not what I’m ranting about.)

So speaking about real numbers facts and figures as opposed to your lies…

Solar is on par with electricity rates in the US and steadily rolling out.  It saw so on Crock Of The Week….

Just to double check. I called my Mom and asked her how much she pays for electricty.  She says $300-$400 a month.  They hardly run their airconditioner!  I’m cooking when I visit.  She has a 1100 sqft condo right outside Waikiki.

Grid Parity…. timeline.

Its about saving money. Its not about the Dolphin Babies…

Chas… its a measured fact.  The only person who’s stupid and deluded is you.  Grow up.

I actually was encouraged by your first reply but then he name calling started in the second one :(

Listen, I’m not dumping on Desmog, I’m trying to send out a dose of reality!

Gas is really cheap right now. I don’t nkow why your mother is paying so much in Hawaii, I live in Massachusetts and live in a full-sized house with my son and his fiance and we pay around $85. /month max for electric. We have a gas stove upstairs and an electric stove downstairs. Gas dryer and hot-water heater and gas furnace in the winter. My total utilities for the coldest winter month (not including phone and cable tv) is about $325. Don’t see how that would ever go down with renewables.

From what I’m reading (not just on denier sites), many countries in the EU that over commited to renewables (especially Germany and the UK) are paying a HEAVY price for it now. Germany is building new coal powered plants because they unwisely decided to shut down all their nuclear after the Fukajima incident and their deployment of wind and solar is not working.

In the UK, their crazy green energy policies are killing them! Electric prices for consumers and industry are going through the roof and the whole time they are trying to fight fracking developement. It’s just crazy. They want to go Green with absolutely NO transition and not only is it expensive but it is NOT WORKING. Rich landowners are making a killing allowing wind farms to be deployed (because of feed-in tarrifs) that are not capable of carrying the load and the poor people are footing the bill!

There has to be some middle ground here, seriously. And Desmog and sites like it aren’t helping by demonizing fracking when they know darn well it’s going to continue in the US.

You said something completely different.

I see no evidence that Europe is over committed to renewables.  None.  (Link… dude.) If you were in Germany you’d be paying $4.25 more a month.  That doesn’t sound like a heavy price even for poor people.

Germany is currently adding about 11 terawatt-hours of new renewable electricity generation a year.

Indeed the economic power house of Europe (the one propping the place up) seems pretty committed and hardly hampered by high energy prices.

Perhaps you’re confused by the Europe’s over commitment to loan sharked American homes?  That caused quite a lot of damage and last I checked there was no upside to that.  (My parents picked up another beach front condo for a song…230 degrees of ocean frontview.)

Furthermore any cost comparisons you will find are based on pollution being free.  I don’t see it as being free.  The best price I’ve seen for removing carbon from the atmosphere is $250 a ton.

I personally pay about $85 for electric only.  I have a gas furnace.  I pay $240 peak in winter for all utilities.

Electricity in Hawaii is powered by gasoline… petroleum.  Residential electricity is $0.36 per kwh.  Solar is privately subsidized.  (Its suspect this is on-grid, and the financial backers are selling the spare solar back to the grid which is usually how this works.)

In any case the links I posted before show exactly what is happening and why.  Energy prices keep going up, and solar (renewables) keep going down.  I don’t see how that trend is going to stop.