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Speakers corner. To frack or not to frack? Why is that not a global public health question and how should public health practitioners address it?
  1. Andrew Watterson
  1. Correspondence to Professor Andrew Watterson, Occupational and Environmental Health Research Group, School of Health Sciences, RG Bomont Bldg R3T11, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK; aew1{at}

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Large-scale unconventional gas extraction (UGE) includes coal bed methane, shale gas and coal gas. It may involve fracking or fracturing of shale and other seams via wells. Fracking is planned or underway in North America, Africa, Europe, Australia and Asia. Frackers make great profits and assure those to be fracked that the activity, product and any minimal pollution will be tightly regulated and carefully run by the companies. Hence communities will be safe, the energy supply will be better for the environment and jobs and economic growth will be created. Some who are being fracked also receive financial benefits and are happy with the process. Others so fracked are not.

Many European communities, about to be fracked, are opposed to the process because UGE continues to contribute to global climate change, threatens their health and well-being with more than 750 chemicals and uncertain planning and property impacts in the short, middle and long term. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) issued a call for a review of all current fracking …

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