This waste poses a real threat

Letter of the Day

Last updated 07:57 04/10/2012

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OPINION: The repeated statement that BTEX is not used for fracking in New Zealand is plainly false.

The Taranaki Regional Council's risk assessment report (Appendix I) includes two fracking products (Wax-chek 5222 and Halliburton WAC-12L) containing Ethyl benzene and Xylene. The 67 products in the appendix include numerous other hazardous chemicals.

A United States risk assessment describes three of them - glutaraldehyde, 2,2-dibromo-3- nitrilopropionamide (DBNPA) and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (2-BE) - as "dangerous at concentrations near or below their chemical detection limits" (gasdrillingtechnotes.org).

Glutaraldehyde is a potent respiratory toxin and mutagen active at minute concentrations of parts-per-billion (ppb).

DBNPA is a respiratory and skin toxin, lethal to rainbow trout at 40-50 ppb and to oysters at concentrations well below the limit of detection.

2-BE, easily absorbed through the skin, is toxic to red blood cells and is an endocrine disruptor at extremely low levels, affecting the ovaries and adrenal glands. These chemicals are widely used in drilling, not only fracking.

Now, to help STOS clean up their Kapuni sites, our councils allow them to spread tonnes of contaminated soil on to so-called 'landfarms' where cows will graze and supposedly 'bioremediate' the soil. Mind you, TRC did analyse soil samples at the Brown Rd landfarm for chloride, conductivity, hydrocarbons, sodium and total soluble salts. But what about 2-BE and numerous other toxic chemicals used in drilling? It is utterly irresponsible to risk contaminating our food/ milk-producing land and drinking water supply by allowing discharge of waste products from the oil and gas industry into or near them.

CATHERINE CHEUNG

Okato

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