The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Balancing Act

February 24, 2011

Fracking chemicals

The following is a list of chemicals used in the process of hydraulic fracturing. The list was compiled from publicly available sources by the Lock the Gate Alliance, an Australian community, industry and environmental group. Not all chemicals are used in every frack job, and each company uses different formulas for hydraulic fracturing.


Propanol. Complexor.

Used as a solvent in the pharmaceutical industry.

Hazardous chemical class 3. Highly flammable. Harmful by inhalation and if swallowed. Irritating to eyes and skin.



Surfactant (used to

reduce surface tension).

Used in whiteboard

cleaners, liquid soaps, cosmetics and lacquers.

Poison. Causes

hemoglobinuria as well as histopathologic changes in the liver and kidney.


Acetic Acid. pH buffer (used to adjust pH).

Gives vinegar its taste.

Extremely corrosive and flammable. It requires special storage and handling considerations. Glacial acetic acid causes severe chemical burns to eyes and skin.


Acrylic copolymer.


Used as a soil-repellent coating by the building


Includes methyl methacrylate, methacrylic acid, butyl acrilate and buthyl methacrylate, all toxic chemicals used in



Ammonium persulfate. Breaker. Used to reduce viscosity (turns a gel

into water)

Used in hair bleach, blot gels and glass cleaning products

Oxidizer with moderate oral toxicity. Airborne dust may be irritating to eyes, nose, lungs, throat and skin upon contact.


Boric Acid. Crosslinker to increase viscosity.

Used in antiseptics to treat cuts and fungal

infections (athlete’s foot).

Poison. Chronic poisoning occurs in those who are repeatedly exposed to boric acid. Once used to disinfect and treat wounds, patients who received such treatment repeatedly got sick, and some died.


Boric Oxide. Crosslinker to increase viscosity.

Used to produce high strength alloys, glasses and ceramics.

Causes severe irritation of upper respiratory tract with coughing, burns, breathing difficulty and possible coma. May cause kidney injury.


Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate. Gelling agent/Crosslinker to

increase viscosity.

Used as a fertilizer.

Affects the gastrointestinal tract, skin, vascular system and brain.

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