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Concerns about fracking are misplaced

Date published: 6/30/2014

The editorial board's choice of words to describe hydraulic fracturing solutions portrays its prejudice against the process, which has been used safely in Virginia for about 60 years and is responsible for affordable energy prices and an American manufacturing resurgence ["Chemical disclosure," June 20].

"Chemical cocktail" and "toxin" carry unarguably negative connotations.

Surprisingly, when the public learns about what ingredients are used in hydraulic fracturing fluid, it will only alleviate health and safety concerns.

In Virginia, the vast majority of horizontally drilled wells use only nitrogen for fracturing. Nitrogen is an inert, non-greenhouse gas that comprises 78 percent of the air we breathe. It's the opposite of a "toxin."

Gas formations that aren't well suited for nitrogen-only fracturing use a combination of water, nitrogen, sand and about 2 percent additives. Additives include household and food products like guar gum (a gelling agent used in ice cream), surfactant (a friction reducer found in toothpaste), biocide (a bacteria-control substance used in municipal water treatment), sodium chloride (table salt), isopropanol (a viscosity booster found in deodorant) and citric acid (lemon juice).

Biased newspapers may try to make hydraulic fracturing a stench to the public, but transparency about fracking fluid reveals how harmless it really is.

Curt Teaster