Environmental Health Risk Perception of Hydraulic Fracturing in the US


The advent of new technologies such as directional drilling (D2) and the hydraulic fracturing technique (HFtech) has made it possible to enhance energy production from petroleum reserves. The procedures involved have however aroused public sentiments and triggered the debate on the economic importance of petroleum recovery processes. Public perceptions of the environmental health consequences of these processes have been fuzzy. Public survey was conducted using the United States as a case study to foster the development of the most effective policy relative to environmental health sustainability and energy independence. Participants (n = 1243) were surveyed on the prevalence and concerns for HFtech in proxy communities in 2015. Key to the perception inquiry was the knowledge of respondents on HFtech and the concerns relative to the exploration processes. Ordinal logistic regression and Poisson regression (Pλ) were used to interpret the responses obtained from the participants. The study determined mixed public view for HFtech based on the analyses conducted. Young men, on average, had the least degree of concerns, while older residents (60+ years old) are more inclined to have friends who support HFtech in the communities (p-value = 0.082). Through this study, a clearer global profile of perceived public risks can be developed in countries using HFtech, in determining risk acceptability and proper governance for shale gas development. The detailed survey carried out is important for the development of effective strategies for managing risky decisions to emerging energy development issues while balancing the need for a sustainable environment.



Perceptions, Communities, Hydraulic fracturing, Oil and gas, Environmental health impact


Olawoyin, R., McGlothlin, C., Conserve, D. F., & Ogutu, J. (2016). Environmental health risk perception of hydraulic fracturing in the US. Cogent Environmental Science, 2(1), 1209994.