Monday, November 24, 2014

That's not what the scientists (and the data) said!

When I heard this press release and the subsequent news coverage, I knew something went terribly awry.  I didn't have time or energy to blog about it, but I am glad that Boulder Weekly decided to run Fact to Fiction, an in depth look at how this happened.
So how did a study designed to analyze traceable components of fracking fluid so potential contamination in groundwater could be identified get transformed into a headline that declared fracking fluid safe?

The answer is poor communication and bad journalism.

It started with an unclear press release from the University of Colorado with a title that declared “Major class of fracking chemicals no more toxic than common household substances.”
For starters, I believe that Laura Snider, University of Colorado media relations staff member and author of the original press release, should be fired.

How she could have been so clueless that her wording would be paraphrased into sound bites declaring fracking safe is beyond belief.  It's right up there with #shirtgate for cluelessness and irresponsibility.

I would flip the question around and ask, why are household cleaners so full of substances that are not safe and not listed on labels?  (Thank Reagan-era deregulation that allows manufacturers to declare their product ingredients proprietary and secret.)

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how much money CU gets from the oil/fracking industry ?
    clueless, or crazy like a fox ?

    this company
    http://www.basetrace.com/technology
    has mostly solved the problem that the scientists are looking at. The problem remaining, is to get the fracking companies to include the inert DNA in their fluid: of course they will never do that, since it would prove that fracking is contaminating groundwater. Technical problems can be solved, politico-economic ones are harder.

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