Health care professionals are increasingly calling for bans or moratoria until the full range of potential health hazards from fracking are understood

Extract from the 4th Edition of the Compendium (pages 20 & 21)

In May 2015, the Medical Society of the State of New York passed a resolution recognizing the potential health impacts of natural gas infrastructure and pledging support for a governmental assessment of the health and environmental risks associated with natural gas pipelines. (See footnote 720.) The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a similar resolution that supports legislation requiring all levels of government to seek a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment regarding the health and environmental risks associated with natural gas pipelines. (See footnote 719.) In May 2016, Physicians for Social Responsibility called for a ban on fracking, stating, “We cannot stay healthy in an unhealthy environment. Nor can we survive indefinitely on a planet growing hotter and more prone to extreme, unpredictable and destructive weather. These factors impel PSR to call for a ban on fracking and for a rapid transition to cleaner, healthier, carbon-free sources of energy.”52 In July 2016, the UK health professional organization Medact released an updated assessment of the potential health impacts of shale fracking in England, concluding that the United Kingdom should abandon its policy to encourage shale gas extraction, and urged an “indefinite moratorium” on fracking. (See footnote 878.) In October 2016, group of health care professionals in Massachusetts called for an immediate moratorium on major new natural gas infrastructure until the impact of these projects on the health of the communities affected can be adequately determined through a Comprehensive Health Impact Assessment.53 The group noted that the operation of natural gas facilities risks human exposures to toxic, cancer-causing, and radioactive pollution due to the presence of naturally co-occurring contaminants, toxic additives to the hydraulic fracturing process used to produce much of the country’s natural gas supply, and through the operation of transmission pipelines.54 Also in October, in a unanimous vote of the society’s 300-member House of Delegates, the Pennsylvania Medical Society called for a moratorium on new shale gas drilling and fracking in Pennsylvania and an initiation of a health registry in communities with pre-existing operations.55, 56 Other U.S. medical groups calling for bans or moratoria include Chesapeake PSR and the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. Concerned Health Professionals of New York, which provided science for the successful effort to ban fracking in New York State, has inspired affiliations of like-minded public health scientists and health care providers that are now advocating for moratoria or bans on fracking in various other regions. These include Concerned Health Professionals of Maryland, Concerned Health Professionals of Ireland, and Concerned Health Professionals of Neuquén, Argentina.

52 Physicians for Social Responsibility (2016, May 13). PSR position statement calling for a ban on hydraulic fracturing. Retrieved from http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/psr-fracking-policy.pdf

53 Massachusetts Health Care Professionals Against Fracked Gas (2016, October). Call for a moratorium on natural gas projects undergoing construction or review in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved from http://mhcpafg.org/

54 Massachusetts Health Care Professionals Against Fracked Gas. (2016, February 20). The role of comprehensive health inpact assessment in evaluating natural gas infrastructure proposals in Massachusetts. Retrieved from http://mhcpafg.org/

55 Pennsylvania Medical Society (2016, October 23). Resolution 16-206: Pennsylvania Medical Society support for a moratorium on fracking. Retrieved from https://www.pamedsoc.org/PAMED_Downloads/HODAEC/16-206.pdf

56 Hopey, D. (2016, October 28). Doctors call for a state ban on drilling and fracking. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved from http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2016/10/27/Doctors-group-calls-for-moratorium-onfracking-in-Pennsylvania/stories/201610270226

Concerned Health Professionals of New York and Physicians for Social Responsibility (2016) COMPENDIUM OF SCIENTIFIC, MEDICAL, AND MEDIA FINDINGS DEMONSTRATING RISKS AND HARMS OF FRACKING (UNCONVENTIONAL GAS AND OIL EXTRACTION) 4th Edition

(Available from http://concernedhealthny.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/COMPENDIUM-4.0_FINAL_11_16_16Corrected.pdf)

 

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