Clear the Beaches

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The Times carried a story the other day that the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had banned an anti-Fracking advert from Friends of the Earth (FoE) on the grounds that it was misleading.  The paper reported:

"Friends of the Earth (FoE) failed to substantiate claims that fracking could cause cancer, contaminate water supplies, increase asthma rates and send house prices plummeting, the Advertising Standards Authority says.  ...

The draft upholds the complaints against FoE on all four grounds, finding in each case that the group had breached the ASA’s code by making misleading statements that it had failed to substantiate.  The draft rejects FoE’s attempt to use evidence from the US to justify its claims about the threat to health and water supplies. It notes that there are differences between the way fracking is regulated in the US and UK, with the Environment Agency imposing strict controls here on chemicals used and the protection of water supplies."

FoE denies it all.  Apparently, however, one of the FoE claims was that fracking chemicals could cause cancer because they contain sand, which contains silica, “a known carcinogen”.

The trouble is, I think, that there are just not enough popular TV programmes about chemistry.  We clearly need more like Breaking Bad which, under the guise of drama and entertainment, sneaks in some decent chemistry teaching.  Meanwhile, just to be on the safe side (the precautionary p'ple, you know) we should, perhaps, be putting out the red flags and clearing beaches and sand pits everywhere.  You never know ...



As I write this, the first tanker of fracked gas arrives in Scotland for processing at Grangemouth, a plant which, in a different life, I once visited to research an article on Hydrocracking.  It is ok, it seems to import gas from a country with lax environmental standards, but not to produce it where such standards are amongst the highest in the world.  Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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