A new report for the European Union warns that tough new regulations are required for the shale gas industry because of the high risk it poses to human health and the environment.
The EC study, 'Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and human health', the most comprehensive analysis yet of the shale gas sector, says that drilling for shale gas poses a "high risks", worse than those posed by other fossil fuels, EEM reported.
Amongst these is water contamination caused by the hydraulic fracturing of rocks to obtain the gas, known as 'fracking'. The report warns that no fracking should be allowed in areas where water is being used to drinking purposes.
Seven other risks are highlighted, including contamination and depletion of ground and surface water, degradation of biodiversity, land, air quality and the danger of earthquakes.
It also speculates as to whether the use of toxic chemicals for injection should be banned in general. At least, it says, "all chemicals to be used should be disclosed publicly, the number of allowed chemicals should be restricted, and their use should be monitored".