Shale gas’ extraction in Krynica, Poland
(cc wikimedia commons, Karol Karolus)

Impacts of shale gas extraction on the environment and on the human health-2012 update
European Parliament, Directorate-general for internal policies, Policy department citizen’s rights and constitutional affairs. 34 pages.
Mr Matthias ALTMANN, Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH
Mr Werner Weindorf, Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH
Mr Werner ZITTEL, Ludwig-Bölkow-Systemtechnik GmbH
Mr Stefan LECHTENBÖHMER, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy
“This study discusses the possible impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the environment and on human health updating a study published in 2011. Detailed studies of environmental risks arising from unconventional gas extraction activities have been published recently on European and national levels substantially broadening and deepening the scientific basis. However, knowledge and availability of information are still limited. High risks are identified in a number of environmental aspects, notably when taking into account the cumulative risks of multiple installations typical for unconventional gas activities.”
Highlighting the higher intensity of drilling, more industrial activity and disruption above ground as well as hydraulic fracturing technology as key features of unconventional gas extraction activities, the International Energy Agency notes: “The environmental and social hazards related to these and other features of unconventional gas development have generated keen public anxiety in many places.” (IEA, 2012).
The European Parliament and other public institutions at European, national and regional level have taken up this important issue in various ways, including the advancement of scientific knowledge and publicly available information on unconventional gas extraction.
Significant new insights have been gained within the past 12 months. […] In spite of advances in scientific knowledge on unconventional gas issues a number of challenges and major information gaps remain in the different domains touched. While some of these are of a general nature such as toxicological assessments of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, other aspects require detailed information and data specific to a region or to each individual unconventional gas field. The latter notably includes detailed knowledge of the local/regional geology for environmental and health related risk assessments.”