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Florida PSR Concerned over Fracking Legislation

April 22, 2013

For Immediate Release
Contact: Ron Saff, MD,
850- 766-7886

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Physicians for Social Responsibility (Florida Chapter) and the Florida League of Conservation Voters, in honor of Earth Day and respect for our Mother are bringing attention to the dangers of hydraulic fracturing. Not only are natural resources being extracted, but a mixture of chemical fluids are injected underground as part of the drilling process to aid in breaking up the rock.   The 2013 Florida Legislature is passing legislation, (CS/SB1028: CS/HB743), that will negatively expose our drinking water aquifers, wildlife, wild lands, and communities to toxic exposure from the extraction of natural gas through the process known as “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing.

”We have enough environmental and public health problems in Florida  we don't need more cancer, global warming nor earthquakes, ” stated Ronald Saff, M.D.

Dr. Saff, continued that “a few years ago an emergency room nurse at a Colorado medical center was exposed to hydraulic fracking fluids when a gas driller employee came in complaining of nausea and headaches. This gas driller spilled fracturing fluid on his clothes and boots. The odor was so overpowering and strong that the emergency room had to be evacuated. The nurse, without protection, spent only ten minutes tending to this gas driller, and within 48 hours, the nurse appeared jaundiced and began vomiting fluids and appeared having difficulty breathing. She was rushed to the ER and was diagnosed with multiple organ failure including liver failure, respiratory distress and erratic blood founds. She was admitted to the ICU with a presumptive diagnosis of poisoning from an unknown source. The fluid was and is considered to be the proprietary formula of Halliburton, a gas industry leader.” (More information:

“Returned waste fluids include carcinogens, heavy metals, radioactive elements and high salt levels that keeps this fluid from being adequately cleaned up for safe discharge and threaten public health, especially that of pregnant women and children, by contaminating ground water and the air. Long-term impacts on fresh water aquifers are a poorly understood potential threat to our limited drinking water supplies that requires a precautionary approach until impacts are better understood” said Lynn Ringenberg, MD, President of PSR Florida.

Hydraulic fracturing has caused geological damage, including earthquakes and contaminated drinking water in other parts of the country.  Energy companies currently using “fracking” are in 33 states, from Los Angeles County, through western states such as Colorado and Wyoming, through the Midwest in Ohio and across the Marcellus shale formation that runs from New York State to West Virginia, according to the Physicians for Social Responsibility. (More info:

There are inadequate safeguards for public health as this process is not regulated under the Clean Water Act or the Environmental Protection Agency.  Our groups strongly support a much better analysis of the public health impacts before the industry moves forward without adequate safeguards for Florida’s citizens and ecosystem.

“These fracking companies drill a hole and inject toxic chemicals with sand, water, and no one knows what else, creating a toxic soup. Some components are known carcinogens and others are not known because these companies are allowed to hide behind public record exemptions and trade secret protections,” stated Joy Towles Ezell, President of Florida League of Conservation Voters. “What about the by-products from this lethal process?  Where does all the polluted water and toxic mud go?  There is no “away”.  This is no way to treat our “Mother”!”

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  • Fracking Compendium 5 Water Excerpt

    Given the timely and important consideration of the issue by state officials in Florida, Physicians for Social Responsibility, along with Concerned Health Professionals of New York, has released excerpts from the upcoming Fifth Edition of the Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. Released in Miami in advance of the full report, this new document contains an up-to-date analysis and compilation of the science on water contamination risks from drilling, fracking, and associated activities. Read more »