A Texas family has become the first to be awarded money for personal injury in a U.S. fracking case.
"This week, a Dallas jury awarded the Parrs more than $3 million after the family sued Aruba Petroleum." (Via KHOU)
In 2011, the Parr family sued Aruba Petroleum after years of documenting health problems and recording videos detailing the company's drilling sites. (Via KHOU)
"The family says for years they suffered nosebleeds, head to toe rashes, you can see the pictures for yourself, nausea and blurred vision." (Via KRIV)
CNN says Aruba Petroleum had 22 natural gas wells within two miles of the Parr's 40-acre property. Three of those wells were in close proximity to family's home — the closest was less than 800 feet away.
But Aruba Petroleum released a statement saying, "We contended the plaintiffs were neither harmed by the presence of our drilling operations nor was the value of their property diminished because of our natural gas development. We presented thorough and expert testimony from recognized toxicologists and medical professionals, as well as local real estate professionals, to help the jury make an informed decision." (Via Natural Gas Intelligence)
But apparently, the jury was unconvinced. And there are many public concerns about the use of fracking — a term that's short for hydraulic fracturing. CNN explains exactly how this process works.
"They're using water and a lot of chemicals and some sand and some other things and they fracture a rock by pushing at it at a very, very high speed." (Via CNN)
The fracturing releases the oil and natural gas. The chemicals used in the process are what researchers from the journal Human and Ecological Risk Assessment say can lead to health problems.
Researchers examined 353 of the more than 600 chemicals used to extract the natural gas and found, "More than 75% of the chemicals could affect the skin, eyes ... and the respiratory and gastrointestinal systems. Approximately 40–50% could affect the brain/nervous system, immune and cardiovascular systems, and the kidneys ... and 25% could cause cancer and mutations." (Via Human and Ecological Risk Assessment)
As for the Parrs, they're back at their ranch after Aruba Petroleum shut down the well closest to their home and installed units to clean their air near well sites. The family says they're now feeling much better.