A Project of Texans for Natural Gas

You Just Paid for a Study Claiming Fracking Could Make You Fat

FrackFeed | July 3, 2018

Just when you think the dumb claims against fracking couldn’t get any dumber, a research team up and claims fracking could make you fat.

If you think that’s ridiculous, you’re right. If you think we’re making this up, you’re wrong.

A group of researchers managed to get funding to study whether wastewater from shale wells would stimulate fat cell development in mice. From the press release:

“Exposure to fracking chemicals and wastewater promotes fat cell development, or adipogenesis, in living cells in a laboratory, according to a new Duke University-led study.

“Researchers observed increases in both the size and number of fat cells after exposing living mouse cells in a dish to a mixture of 23 commonly used fracking chemicals. They also observed these effects after exposing the cells to samples of wastewater from fracked oil and gas wells and surface water believed to be contaminated with the wastewater. The findings appear June 21 in Science of the Total Environment.”

Even though the news hook here – fracking makes you fat – is pretty clear based on the release, the researchers backed away from that once they were actually talking to reporters. The study “does not prove that fracking causes obesity in people,” according to the Raleigh News & Observer. The research “doesn’t show that people are getting fat from fracking,” one of the authors told a Pittsburgh newspaper.

Well that’s good. But it also didn’t stop one of the authors from putting the team’s findings in the most bizarre light possible. He said the cells they studied are “trigger cells that are sitting in your body, awaiting to be recruited to become fat cells for energy storage.” Fracking apparently recruits them while hiding in the darkness like a sneaky cheeseburger.

You might think this is too dumb to really care about. That’s a fair point, but at least one prominent environmental group couldn’t resist: they highlighted the study and asked, “Does fracking make us fat?

But wait, it gets better. Some of the funding came from you, the American taxpayer.

“Primary funding came from the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences. Additional funding came from the University of Missouri, a crowdfunding campaign via Experiment.com, and an EPA 520 STAR Fellowship Assistance Agreement.”

Does lighting money on fire also make you fat? If so, we’re all gonna need to go on a diet.