There are many reasons to reject fossil fuels now, after 200 years of their reign as society’s primary energy source. History will articulate both the benefits provided to human society derived from fossil fuel energy technologies from 1750 to the present—and the extensive costs.
In addition to transportation, electricity, industrial power, military and medical applications; fossil fuel technologies are also a core element behind war, political unrest, human rights abuses, extreme and permanent environmental degradation and human disease.
Perhaps the most important historical legacy of fossil fuels, however, will be their collective role as the chief protagonist behind what may be the most urgent long-term global crisis in human history: greenhouse gas–induced climate change.
It is my hope that this list, focusing on immediate public health risks (apart from climate change), serves as an adjunct to the myriad other reasons to end the use of fossil fuels—all of them—completely.
The ten “ingredients” listed in this article are not intended as an exclusive list. The major fossil fuels (oil, coal, gas) each use hundreds, if not thousands, of chemicals—often not disclosed—many of which are highly dangerous to human health. Attempting a comprehensive list of all the harmful chemicals used willingly by the oil, coal and gas industries would be far beyond the scope of this blog series.
This article, rather, represents some of the more commonly cited toxic ingredients in the public literature; a starting point in reviewing the overall public health dangers inherent across the spectrum in all three major fossil fuel extraction industries: oil, coal and natural gas.
2. Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
3. Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
4. Petroleum Coke (Pet Coke)
6. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH)
8. Silica (Silicon Dust/Fracking Sand)
10. Hydrofluoric Acid (HF) / Hydrogen Fluoride
READ FULL DESCRIPTIONS OF THE 10 Most Toxic Ingredients Used In Coal, Oil and Gas Production.