The Compendium is a fully referenced compilation of the significant body of scientific, medical, and journalistic findings demonstrating risks and harms of fracking.

It is organized to be accessible to public officials, researchers, journalists, and the public at large.  The Compendium summarizes key studies and other findings relevant to the ongoing public debate about unconventional methods of oil and gas extraction.

The Compendium should be used by readers to grasp the scope of the information about both public health and safety concerns and the economic realities of fracking that frame these concerns. The reader who wants to delve deeper can consult the reviews, studies, and articles referenced.

In addition, the Compendium is complemented by a fully searchable, near-exhaustive citation database of peer-reviewed journal articles pertaining to shale gas and oil extraction, housed at the PSE Healthy Energy scientific literature database.*

For the Compendium, we collected and compiled findings from three sources: articles from peer-reviewed medical or scientific journals; investigative reports by journalists; and reports from or commissioned by government agencies.

  • Peer-reviewed articles were identified through databases such as PubMed and Web of Science, and from within the PSE Health Energy database.
  • We included review articles when such reviews revealed new understanding of the evidence. Our entries briefly describe studies that documented harm or risk of harm associated with fracking, summarizing the principal findings.
  • We also provided, within entries, references to articles appearing in the popular press that described the findings of the corresponding peer-reviewed study.
Pace of production of research studies

The pace at which new studies and information are emerging has rapidly accelerated in the past year and a half:

  • in the first few months of 2014, more studies were published on the health effects of fracking than in 2011 and 2012 combined.
  • The number of peer-reviewed publications doubled between 2011 and 2012 and then doubled again between 2012 and 2013.
  • More than 80 percent of the available studies on the impacts of shale gas development have been published since January 2013 and over 50 percent since January 2014.
  • In 2014, 192 peer-reviewed studies on the impacts of fracking were published.
  • In the first six months of 2015, 103 studies appeared.*.


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