Colorado SB-181, changed the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to one that regulates rather than promotes oil and gas development and made clear a requirement that the commission prioritize public health and safety over oil and gas development.

In addition to frackings contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and the climate crisis, fracking operations release toxic gases, the most dangerous of which are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including the BTEX complex (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene). Benzene is a potent carcinogen and, according to the EPA, cancer risk can occur at any exposure level. BTEX compounds are known to cause birth defects, impact the reproductive system, and affect the kidneys, liver and lungs. Studies link fracking with childhood hematologic cancer. Fracking contributes to ground ozone that is associated with respiratory problems and asthma particularly in children. 

PSR Colorado has worked at the local, state and federal level to support communities in their efforts to mitigate fracking and its harmful impacts through lobbying, educating decision-makers, letters to the editor, Op Eds, testimony, seminars.

The Health Impacts Of Fracking

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Dr. Detlev Hemig fired from CU

Dr. Helmig at work

One of the most important methods to determine risk of pollution exposure is the ability to measure that exposure.  Beginning in early April of 2017, continuous monitoring of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has been done at the Boulder Reservoir by Dr. Detlev Helmig an INSTAAR (The Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research) scientist at CU.  Dr. Helmig's research has showed that the Oil and Gas Industry has under reported the pollution of VOCs emitted from their fracking sites along the front range. 


In April of 2020, Dr. Helmig,  was abruptly fired from his academic post with the university barring him from his lab and 25 years of research. This was an unexpected action to remove a researcher who was willing to publish data contradicting the powerful Oil and Gas Industry.  PSR Colorado is concerned that the firing of Dr. Helmig is political and related to the financial ties the Oil and Gas industry has with CU Boulder.

Here are links to articles about the event:

Boulder Weekly Opinion - Dr. Helmig's firing from CU - Colorado’s Methane Measurements Are Off

And here is an article from the Oil and Gas friendly publication " - Dr. Helmig seeking legal help

Please reach out to your local representative, CU Board of Regents, State Representatives to let them know about the questionable firing of Dr. Helmig.  Hopefully, Dr. Helmig's research can continue to provide data to help the citizens of Colorado fight the biased data from Oil and Gas.

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Health Impacts Of Fracking

Click here to read The Health Impacts Of Fracking

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Fracking & Health

Who we are: 

Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is a scientific and educational organization representing medical and health professionals and concerned citizens, with nearly 40,000 members and supporters. PSR has been working for more than 50 years to create a healthy, just and peaceful world for present and future generations. 

PSR Colorado works to elevate the voice of health professionals in regard to protecting the public from the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing, the climate crisis, and exposures to radionuclides and other toxic substances on current and future generations. PSR Colorado advocates for solutions to reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy.


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