Link Between Low Birth Weight and Fracking, Says New Researc

Link Between Low Birth Weight and Fracking, Says New Researc

Postby Oscar » Sun Jul 22, 2012 9:56 pm

Link Between Low Birth Weight and Fracking, Says New Research

----- Original Message -----
From: magog
To: ; JV Anglin ; Brian Mason ; Duncan, Linda - M.P. ; Sorenson, Kevin - M.P. ; Prime Minister/Premier ministre ; ; ; David Swann ; ; ; ; ;
Cc: Jessica Ernst
Sent: Friday, July 20, 2012 12:20 PM
Subject: Link Between Low Birth Weight and Fracking, Says New Research

Dear Elected / Appointed Officials, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer (Email address not provided on Canadian Government Website, sent via and Council of Canadian Academies Panel to Understand the Impacts of Shale Gas Extraction

Link Between Low Birth Weight and Fracking, Says New Research

by Kristen Meriwether, July 19, 2012, Epoch Times

“A mother’s exposure to fracking before birth increases the overall prevalence of low birth weight by 25 percent,” said Elaine L. Hill, Cornell University doctoral candidate and author of the working paper, “Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Infant Health: Evidence from Pennsylvania.” Hill also found a 17 percent increase in “small for gestational age” births, and reduced health scores.

She spoke at a fracking forum hosted by Sen. Tony Avella in New York City Wednesday.

Hill’s paper looked at birth measures, including birth weight and premature birth, for those born in Pennsylvania starting in 2003, before fracking began. The study used data through 2010 and focused on those living up to 1.5 miles from gas development sites. Pennsylvania increased its unconventional natural gas wells from 20 in 2007 to 4,272 by the end of 2010.

Hill’s working paper will not be published until it passes a peer review—a huge risk for a doctoral student who does not share the same protection as a tenured professor.

“I think the courage she is showing today in coming forward and speaking truth to power should be matched by other acts of courage by members of our own state government,” Sandra Steingraber, distinguished scholar in residence for the department of environmental studies at Ithaca College, said before Hill’s testimony.

Steingraber said she believes Hill’s paper should be peer reviewed, but also feels science is having a tough time keeping up with the rush to get new fracking measures in place. Hill said it may take up to two years to finish the review process, at which time new fracking regulations will likely already be in place.

“My study is robust across multiple specifications and it indicates that our future generation may be seriously harmed. I couldn’t possibly value my career over their well-being,” Hill said by email on Thursday.

“According to current estimates, a single low birth weight infant costs society, on average, $51,000 during the first year of life,” Hill said, adding that that did not include long-term costs for the child or decrease in parental earnings.

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The hidden health risks of fracking, Nurses demand disclosure of chemicals used in natural gas drilling

by Katie Huffling, July 19, 2012, Baltimore Sun

Imagine you are a nurse working in an emergency room, and a worker on a gas fracking well comes in covered in chemicals used in the drilling process. You call the gas company to find out what chemicals are being used to help in your assessment of possible health risks to your patient, and even yourself, but find out they don’t have to disclose this information. Or, imagine you are a public health nurse in a community with many natural gas fracking wells, and you notice complaints of well-water contamination. How can you assess the extent of the issue without baseline data on water quality or knowledge of the chemicals used in the fracking process?

As nurses, we strongly support our right to know in order to protect the health of our communities and the environment. That’s why the American Nurses Association House of Delegates last month passed a resolution highlighting the important role nurses play in advocating for the health of their patients and communities when faced with fracking. As the number of natural-gas fracking wells has increased exponentially over the past 20 years, the public’s right to know what chemicals are used in this process has become imperative to protect the public health. Fracking chemicals now being found in our water supplies have been linked to cancer and kidney, liver and neurological damage. Nurses working in rural areas are also describing how the quality of life in rural communities is being destroyed by drilling, well operations and truck traffic associated with fracking.

Because fracking is fairly new in many areas, statutory or regulatory processes have not adequately ensured health and environmental safety. In areas where fracking is taking place, the public is looking to nurses and other health care providers for answers. However, health care workers do not have access to vital chemical information.

A new report evaluating how states are dealing with fracking concludes that “no state is requiring enough upfront collection of baseline data and ongoing monitoring of drilling operations to ensure adequate protection of local water supplies and public health.”

States should not allow gas companies to claim blanket “trade secret” exemptions to avoid releasing chemical information. This loophole hampers the ability of health care professionals to monitor for exposures and health effects. If it doesn’t get fixed, then companies can claim any chemical is a trade secret, and disclosure becomes a farce. Pepsi and Coke publish the ingredients in their products on every can; the producers of fracking chemicals can do the same without revealing exact formulas that would put a company at a competitive disadvantage. Companies don’t want to disclose the chemicals because they know the substances are dangerous, and the industry knows the public would want to stop their use.

REPORT: The Right to Know, the Responsibility to Protect: State Actions Are Inadequate to Ensure Effective Disclosure of the Chemicals Used in Natural Gas Fracking

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Jessica Ernst
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