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UK chief scientist compares fracking to asbestos and pesticides

The UK government’s chief scientific adviser Mark Walport has argued that delayed recognition of the effects of fracking could lead to serious health and environmental concerns.

Mr Walport’s annual report argued that history presents plenty of examples of innovation trajectories that later proved to be problematic - for example, asbestos, benzene, thalidomide, dioxins, lead in petrol, tobacco, many pesticides, mercury, chlorine and endocrine-disrupting compounds, as well as chlorofluorocarbons, high-sulphur fuels and fossil fuels in general.

The report said innovations reinforcing fossil fuel energy strategies, such as hydraulic fracturing, offer a contemporary prospective example.

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