Fracking companies are fond of telling the public that the chemicals used in fracking make up just a small fraction of the fracking fluid. While this may be true it still means huge volumes of chemicals are used in each frack. Up to 300 tonnes of chemicals are injected into a well each time it is fracked. The chemicals include known carcinogens, neurotoxins, reproductive toxins and endocrine disruptors.
In WA fracking companies are required to tell the public which chemicals they will be using in each frack. This allows some transparency.
Close to 200 chemicals are used in the fracking process and the WA Health Department noted in its report into fracking and human health in 2015 that of those 78 (40%) did not have a guideline or relevant approval by a regulatory agency.
The DOH also noted that 13 of the chemicals are known human carcinogens. A further 28 are known as carcinogenic in animal studies and 35 are listed as animal developmental and reproductive toxicants.
Common fracking compounds include benzene, toluene, aldehyde, polyacrylamides, chromates, hydrochloric acid and formaldehyde.