Disclosure call over fracking

Experts say up to 150 carcinogens in fluid.

If fracking goes ahead in the Karoo, companies involved need to disclose exactly which chemicals are being used in the process. This call was made by a group of experts, who said companies involved in fracking would need to work in a tight set of limitations so South African communities were not exposed to carcinogens which could cause cancer through their drinking water.

Cancer Association of SA (Cansa) research head Dr Carl Engelbrecht led the group yesterday, saying the fluids used in fracking could be laced with up to 150 carcinogenic chemicals.

He was supported by Professor Eugene Cloete, vice-rector for research and innovation at the University of Stellenbosch, and Jonathan Deal, founder of Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG), in saying they were against fracking, but that if it was to go ahead there should be full disclosure of the chemicals in fracking fluid because there was a vast sea of ignorance about this.

Speaking at a seminar in Cape Town yesterday, they lobbied for fracking companies to commit to water analysis before, during and after fracking, and said all reports on the water should be made public, not just given to the Department of Water Affairs.

Without such data, communities would “have no leg to stand on in court” due to lack of evidence, they said.

-Tanya Farber and Charlotte Mathews

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