May 17, 2013 Leave a comment
April 18, 2013 Leave a comment
A hill of phosphogypsum rises above the village of Liuchong, in Hubei province. Dasheng chemical dumps the substance, a byproduct of phosphate fertilizer that contains cancer-causing chemicals like arsenic, chromium-6, and cadmium, above the river that feeds the village.
February 1, 2013 Leave a comment
And Claire Barnett of the Healthy Schools Network joins Jeff Jones to discuss schools and gas drilling Interview at about 38 minutes into the program:
Capitol Pressroom, Feb. 1, 2013 http://www.wcny.org/thecapitolpressroomorg/wp-content/uploads/FEB012013.MP3
“Cuomo Puts the Cart Before the Horse on Fracking—Elected Officials, Leading Environmental and Health Experts Call on Cuomo to Open Health Review to the Public,” Dec. 3, 2012
December 3, 2012 Leave a comment
With thanks to Richard Averett for posting info about Concerned Health Professionals of New York, here is my entire statement from the press conference today in Albany with Barbara LIfton, Matt Ryan, Walter Hang, and Roger Downs of the Sierra Club. I haven’t seen any media coverage yet. Sandra
Prepared Remarks, Albany Press Conference, “Cuomo Puts the Cart Before the Horse on Fracking—Elected Officials, Leading Environmental and Health Experts Call on Cuomo to Open Health Review to the Public,” Dec. 3, 2012
I am Sandra Steingraber, biologist at Ithaca College
I saw some of you last Thursday when I was here to announce the launch of Concerned Health Professionals of New York—an initiative of doctors, nurses, and environmental health researchers.
Concerned Health Professionals was launched in response to the secrecy of the ongoing health review, the exclusion of New York State’s own public health experts in the process, and Governor Cuomo’s rejection of our unified demand for a transparent, comprehensive Health Impact Assessment.
Not knowing what documents the three outside health reviewers have been asked by DOH to review, we’ve created a website: www.concernedhealthny.org where we’ve uploaded peer-reviewed studies, reports, and our testimonies and letters to serve as a repository of our many concerns about the consequences of fracking for public health.
Since then, we’ve also uploaded an video appeal to the three panelists from three of New York’s leading public health physicians, two nurses, the founder of New York Breast Cancer Network, and myself—an environmental researcher. In this video, we speak directly to the three panelists about our most urgent concerns. These include—
- Radium in flowback fluid
- Diesel exhaust and its link to breast cancer risk
- Impaired birth outcomes of newborns born to women living near drilling and fracking operations
None of these concerns appear in the last iteration of the sGEIS. We have no idea if they are in the current one or are part of documents pieced together in secrecy by the DOH.
Okay. Can I just say that this is crazy? Scientists and doctors creating videos and websites funded out of their own pockets to get information and data to our out-of-state colleagues because our collective knowledge has been entirely ignored by our own government?
But it gets even crazier. On Thursday, we learned that draft regulations were being released. On Friday, we learned that two of the three outside reviews—in whose hands the fate of millions of New Yorkers now lie—are being paid for 25 hours of work. Twenty-five hours is three working days. You cannot even READ all the literature on fracking’s health effects in three days.
So what should be a linear, deliberative process of decision-making—
first, we investigate cumulative health impacts (how many New Yorkers will get sick and die if fracking comes to our state?), then we fold those answers into a larger EIS that examines if said impacts are acceptably mitigatable, and only then, if they are, do those results become the foundation for regulations—
what should be a linear process of decision-making is twisted into a pretzel:
The regs are out and we can comment on them.
But the EIS is not out.
And the health study, which should be its basis, isn’t even done, and it’s being carried out in total secrecy, and, oh, yeah, today’s the reported deadline for the receipt of the outside reviewers review based on unknown scoping and three days’ work.
That’s not just irrational. That’s surreal
In twenty years of serving on state and federal advisory panels and watching science get turned into policy, I have never seen a more shameful process. The scientific process behind the decision to frack or not to frack New York is befitting a Third World dictatorship, not a progressive democracy.
Here’s what needs to happen: The process by which the state of New York is evaluating health effects must be opened up to public scrutiny and input. We must have public hearings. We must define the broad spectrum of pollutants associated with fracking, document their fate in the environment, identify pathways of human exposure, and investigate long-term health consequences.
Until then, the public health community of New York will raise our voices in objection. Because science is supposed to be transparent, and the Governor’s process has been anything but transparent. Because this process feels like a series of reactions to attacks from the fracking industry, rather than a deliberative process for implementing sound public policy.
It is alarming for the administration to attempt to rush the enormous amount of work that must be done into the next 85 days. We hope—and demand—that they will step back, see the dangerous path they are on, step out of the backrooms to engage the public, and keep their promise to follow the science.
November 14, 2012 Leave a comment
Air Pollution and Natural Gas Operations
An Exploratory Study of Air Quality near Natural Gas Operations
|Download the article(PDF)Findings and Implications (PDF)|
This paper was peer-reviewed and accepted for publication by Human and Ecological Risk Assessment: An International Journal (November 9, 2012).
This exploratory study was designed to assess air quality in a rural western Colorado area where residences and gas wells co-exist. Sampling was conducted before, during, and after drilling and hydraulic fracturing of a new natural gas well pad. Weekly air sampling for 1 year revealed that the number of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) and their concentrations were highest during the initial drilling phase and did not increase during hydraulic fracturing in this closed-loop system. Methylene chloride, a toxic solvent not reported in products used in drilling or hydraulic fracturing, was detected 73% of the time; several times in high concentrations. A literature search of the health effects of the NMHCs revealed that many had multiple health effects, including 30 that affect the endocrine system, which is susceptible to chemical impacts at very low concentrations, far less than government safety standards. Selected polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were at concentrations greater than those at which prenatally exposed children in urban studies had lower developmental and IQ scores. The human and environmental health impacts of the NMHCs, which are ozone precursors, should be examined further given that the natural gas industry is now operating in close proximity to human residences and public lands.
Colborn T, Schultz K, Herrick L, and Kwiatkowski C. 2012 (in press). An exploratory study of air quality near natural gas operations. Hum Ecol Risk Assess.