Over many years, natural gas has come to play a relatively large part in most of our everyday lives. Meanwhile modern society longs to return to simpler, happier, healthier times by “getting back to nature!” These days, the word “Natural” is idolized and closely associated with such terms as “better, healthy and safe!
But just how “natural” is natural gas? Is it truly better, healthier and as safe as the name might lead us to believe? What do we learn when we lay all of the facts out on the table and take a look at what’s revealed without any predetermined bias or cultural conditioning?
First of all is it true that natural gas actually does burn cleaner than coal and fossil fuel?
The answer to that question is a resounding Yes and No! While all scientific evidence gathered shows that natural gas does in fact burn much cleaner that coal, the myth and misunderstanding about it burning cleaner than fossil fuel is has confused a lot of people over the years. The truth is, natural gas actually “IS” fossil fuel.
By its very definition, it’s a highly combustible, gaseous mixture of simple hydrocarbon compounds that are found right along side other forms of fossil fuels, often in coal beds and deep underground reservoirs formed by porous rock.
What makes natural gas different from other fossil fuels is the fact that it is composed primarily of methane, along with small amounts of other gases such as ethane, propane, butane and pentane.
Secondly, while the term “natural gas” may make this fuel sound as if it’s nature’s perfect raw fuel, coming to us directly from the Mother Earth in to provide us with this pristine, pure, unprocessed power, the actual reality of the matter is a far cry from this simplistic notion.
The fact is; there is nothing natural about “natural gas” and unless it goes through an elaborately meticulously refining process, it would be practically useless to us and way to dangerous and toxic to risk messing with.
The extraction process involves all of the exact same drilling and transportation problems that are so commonly associated with digging for oil, so there is no badge or “gold star” to be earned by natural gas in comparison to oil when it comes to potential health risks and serious environmental hazards to the ecosystem.
Natural gas pipelines and their compressor stations cross over all sorts of pristine and undisturbed natural habitats, including fields, forests, pastures, lakes, rives, streams and occasionally even sections of the ocean, putting wildlife from plants and birds, to fish and every creature that roams the earth at potential danger from toxic leaks as well as raging combustion fires.
But the real risks of natural gas come into play when it personally enters your life by coming inside your family home or workplace! Natural gas is viewed by both scientists and health professionals as one of the most significant sources of indoor air pollution and allergy sensitizing agents.
The impurities and toxins ingested by the bodies of every single living person and pet in the building include asphyxiants, benzene, methylmercury, toluene, organolead, xylene, radon, organoarsenic, mercaptan, odourants, nitrogen dioxide, ethylbenzene, carbon monoxide, polycyclic hydrocarbons and formaldehyde, just to name the most prevalent properties that can cause disease and suffering.
Doctors and scientists alike; link the burning of natural gas to such maladies as asthma, respiratory disease, hyper-tension, immune depletion and deficiency as well as a vast number of chronic and temporary chemical sensitivities.
This doesn’t even take into account the fact that natural gas is colorless and odorless as well as highly explosive, so while early detection of a leak is practically impossible, the devastating effects of a natural gas leak could mean certain death, by explosion, fire, or asphyxiation!
Of lesser significance but perhaps of heightened interest, it turns out that the combustion process of natural gas generates water vapor, which in turn, according to researchers, increasing the presence of dust mites, viruses and bacteria within the home or office.
So what have we learned? It seems that like most of the popular fuel choices available to us out there, natural gas has some very clear and distinctive advantages as well as some very significant and serious disadvantages that need to be carefully weighed out when one is making a decision about this highly touted “clean” but most certainly not pristine or “natural” fossil fuel option.
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