American Public Health Association – The Importance of Public Health Agency Independence: Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling in Pennsylvania

American Public Health Association – The Importance of Public Health Agency Independence: Marcellus Shale Gas Drilling in Pennsylvania.

“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

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: 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  eight-minute 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.

Medical Records Could Yield Answers On Fracking : NPR

Medical Records Could Yield Answers On Fracking : NPR.

CDC Health Consultation at Chesapeake ATGAS Well Site HC110411

ChesapeakeATGASWellSiteHC110411Final.pdf (application/pdf Object).

The available environmental data and information for RW04 do not conclusively indicate but suggest that the groundwater near this site is impacted by natural gas activities. EPA is conducting further investigations at this site.

Health Consultation
ATGAS 2H Well Site
Leroy Hill Road, Leroy
Township, Bradford County, PA
4, 2011

Shale Gas Exploitation is Unacceptable Due to the Existence of a Cancer Epidemic in the United States

Shale Gas Exploitation is Unacceptable Due to the Existence of a Cancer Epidemic in the United States

Shale Gas Exploitation is Unacceptable Due to the Existence of a
Cancer Epidemic in the United States-
Donald L. Hassig, November 4,2011

I have recently spoken with New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation (DEC) Deputy Commissioner Eugene Leff concerning the
health risks of high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF).  We discussed
the possibility of the production of a health risk assessment.  He
explained that the decision was made not to produce a health risk
assessment due to the difficulty of estimating quantities of exposure
to various pollutant releases associated with HVHF.  I believe that a
health risk assessment should nevertheless be produced because it
would be the proper document for portrayal of the complex and
impossible to quantify exposures to pollutant carcinogens associated
with HVHF.

Deputy Commissioner Leff takes the position that the best way to
proceed with HVHF in New York State is to make a firm commitment to
minimizing all exposures to harmful chemical substances released into
the environment by shale gas exploitation.  I argued that considering
the history of shale gas exploitation throughout the United States and
the limited ability of the DEC to enforce laws and regulations already
in existence it would not be possible for DEC to act in a sufficiently
substantial manner upon any commitment to minimization of exposures.
There are many pollutant carcinogen exposures associated with shale
gas exploitation that have not been addressed in those areas where
this activity exists, including:  (1) benzene, formaldehyde,
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and soot particulates
emissions of diesel trucks and compressors; (2) chemical carcinogens
present in fracturing fluid and disposed of so as to contaminate
surface and ground waters; (3) chemical carcinogens evaporating into
the outdoor atmosphere from holding tanks utilized at gas well sites;
(4) chemical carcinogens evaporating from HVHF waste water and
entering the outdoor atmosphere; and (5) radioactive nuclides brought
to the surface of the Earth in HVHF waste water.

Shale gas exploitation is not currently possible without imposing a
relatively large quantity of exposure to pollutant carcinogens upon
New York State residents.  At a time when cancer incidence is already
far above an acceptable level as a result of exposures to pollutant
carcinogens released into the environment by past and current
polluting activities, shale gas exploitation is not acceptable.  Our
organization advocates for a ban on shale gas exploitation throughout
the United States.

Cancer Action NY is a member organization of the New York State Cancer
Consortium (CC).  The CC is currently producing an environmental
exposure section for the 2011-2016 New York State Comprehensive Cancer
Control Plan (CCCP).  Cancer Action NY advocates for the inclusion of a
prohibition against HVHF in the CCCP.  Organizations with an interest in
expressing support for the inclusion of such a prohibition in the CCCP can
contact the CC via email at:  <>.

Donald L. Hassig, Director
Cancer Action NY
Cancer Action News Network
P O Box 340
Colton, NY USA 13625