Dataset for: Toxicity and Chemistry of Wastewater from Hydraulic Fracture and Conventional Shale Gas Wells

New technology has enabled recovery of inaccessible natural gas shale deposits, however, the human health risks from the migration of brines into drinking water or surface spills are unknown. To provide information that can inform these risks, chemical characterization and in vitro toxicologic testing was conducted using pre- and post-injection waters from conventional and unconventional oil and gas wells. In acute cytotoxicity and wound healing assays, there was dose-dependent toxicity in human and rat cells with growth promotion at low concentrations. Lethality was measured in time studies up to 10 days post-injection. Produced water samples from both well types were equally toxic to human cells and were corrosive at high concentrations. Measurement of protein and gene expression identified metabolic pathways responding to both well types as NQO1 oxidative stress-responsive enzyme and tight junction protein genes. A KCl sample of matched ionic strength showed a different toxicity profile than produced waters, indicating that salts alone were not the cause of toxicity. Organic chemicals and branched alkanes were present in hydraulic fracture wells and mainly branched alkanes were present in conventional wells. One organic substance was still present after 240 days, The known properties of these chemicals include toxicity to multiple human organs, sensitization, irritation, developmental effects and tumor promotion.