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Californians Demanding Labels for Food Products Made with Fracking Wastewater

A new bill introduced to the California assembly would mandate labels for produce irrigated with fracking wastewater

Fracking wastewater, the byproduct of the controversial method of deep drilling, is mucky, oily, and being used to irrigate farms in California.

Californians are pushing a bill that has just been introduced to the state assembly that would require produce irrigated with recycled fracking water to be labeled. The warning labels would read something like "produced using recycled or treated oil-field wastewater,” according to the bill.

"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," assemblyman Mike Gatto (D), who introduced the bill, said in a press release. "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."

Studies have found that even after wastewater is recycled, dangerous chemicals like radon and radium remain. According to a 2014 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, radioactive residue is not uncommon in fracking wastewater.

"No one expects their lettuce to contain heavy chemicals from fracking wastewater," Gatto said. 

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