Posted by David C. Strouss

Since bringing one of the first cases in the country related to reproductive harm arising from chemical exposure in the semiconductor industry, Thornton Law Firm has been at the leading edge of representing victims of birth defects. New studies show that workplace chemicals are long known to cause serious birth defects in semiconductor plant workers are being used in the new method of oil and gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as “fracking.”

The oil and gas industries are pumping millions of gallons of these birth defect-causing chemicals directly into the earth. These techniques potentially contaminate groundwater, soil, and air. Chemicals long known to cause serious birth defects used in fracking include ethylene glycol ether (“EGE”) and toluene, among others. These birth defect-causing chemicals are formally known as teratogens and have been associated with a range of birth defects including:

  • Malformations of the heart, genitalia, and other organs;
  • Central nervous system disorders such as spina bifida and hydrocephalus;
  • Musculoskeletal defects such as limb malformations;
  • Digestive anomalies;
  • Cleft palates and other structural birth defects

Not all of the fracking fluid is recovered after the gas and oil are released. It is estimated that between 10 and 70% of the fracking fluid remains in the ground. There is also the problem of disposal of the 30 to 90% of the fracking fluid that is pumped back to the surface. Unfortunately, the most common method to dispose of fracking fluid is to inject it back into underground wells. Worse yet, these chemicals are sometimes stored above ground in shallow impoundments or pools lined with only a plastic liner to prevent leaks. Poor disposal methods mean those chemicals have further potential to endanger the water, soil, and air where the fracking process occurs.

If you or a loved one has questions about birth defects related to chemical exposures, including fracking, call David Strouss at 888-491-9726 for a free consultation. We will be happy to answer your questions and explore your legal options.

Additional resources:

For more information on fracking and to locate a well near you, see the chemical disclosure registry,

For a general overview of the fracking process see this explanation at