A new bill proposed in California could turn up the gag factor on your food. The bill, introduced by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D), would require labeling on any crops that were grown with recycled fracking water.
The proposed label would read: "Produced using recycled or treated oil-field wastewater."
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a practice that involves injecting chemical slurry into underground rock formations to extract natural gas and oil.
"Consumers have a basic right to make informed decisions when it comes to the type of food that ends up on the family dinner table," Gatto said in a press release from his office. "Labeling food that has been irrigated with potentially harmful or carcinogenic chemicals, such as those in recycled fracking water, is the right thing to do."
Fracking has been highly criticized by environmentalists over concerns of groundwater contamination and the increasing prevalence of wastewater being used in agricultural settings. According to the Huffington Post, a recent report released by California Council on Science and Technology found that state regulators do not have adequate testing procedures for chemicals in fracking wastewater used in agriculture. There was "not any control in place to prevent [contamination] from happening,” the report explained.
"No one expects their lettuce to contain heavy chemicals from fracking wastewater," said Gatto. "Studies show a high possibility that recycled oil-field wastewater may still contain dangerous chemicals, even after treatment."
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Fracking has also come under scrutiny in California because of its excessive use of fresh water, since supplies are now extremely limited as the state enters its fifth year of severe drought conditions.
According to Reuters, gas and oil companies used 70 million gallons of California water for fracking in 2014.
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Fracking image via Shutterstock