A new study, released this week, by the University of Colorado in Boulder found that surfactant chemicals used for fracing are no more harmful than those in your house.

The research team, which published the study in the journal Analytical Chemistry, identified the surfactants found in fracing fluid samples from Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas were no more dangerous than many things found in a common household, according to the university’s release. The chemicals found in the fluid samples were also commonly found in everyday products, from toothpaste to laxatives to detergent to ice cream.

“This is the first published paper that identifies some of the organic fracing chemicals going down the well that companies use,” said Michael Thurman, lead author of the paper and a co-founder of the Laboratory for Environmental Mass Spectrometry in CU-Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. “We found chemicals in the samples we were running that most of us are putting down our drains at home.”

When asked for a comment by Oil & Gas 360® Dr. Thurman had this to say: “Our initial sample for the study was 8 wells, which we have since doubled. From a statistical standpoint, this isn’t a strong representation of wells nationwide, but my feeling is that as we continue our research we will continue to see similar results.”

There have been concerns raised by fracing that the chemicals used in the fluid might contaminate ground water supplies. This latest study, along with one done by Duke, Ohio State, Stanford, Dartmouth and Rochester earlier this year, seem to show that fracing is not as dangerous as some have feared.

The University of Colorado is not alone in monitoring how fracing is affecting the environment, however. Colorado State University started its Colorado Water Watch program in September, which measures conductivity, pH, salinity, temperature, oxidation reduction potential, dissolved oxygen and depth. The University of Colorado Boulder marks another important step towards public understanding of how fracing will affect nearby areas.

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