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Institute, where we ask questions -- then we ask the experts to
answer them. Join us as physicians, health professionals,
and environmental health experts share their ideas, inspiration, and
analysis about toxic chemicals and environmental health policy.
Fracking Revisited: Feeling the Effects
Marybeth Dunn, MPH
August 5, 2013
Once again the Environmental Health Policy Institute is focusing on hydraulic fracturing and the associated health and environmental effects. We looked first at this issue in June 2012, when "fracking" was rapidly increasing across the country. The need for fuller knowledge and better protections for human wellbeing led us to ask the question: How does hydraulic fracturing – "fracking" – affect the public's health?
The answers to that question are in large measure the reason that Physicians for Social Responsibility adopted a position on fracking. It states in part that:
PSR supports a precautionary approach that includes a moratorium on the use of hydraulic fracturing until such time as impartial federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency develop and implement enforceable rules that provide adequate protection for human health and the environment from fossil fuel extraction processes that use hydraulic fracturing.
A year later, the US continues to see a boom in natural gas drilling and we are no closer to enforceable rules that protect public health and the environment. In fact EPA's national study on hydraulic fracturing, scheduled for release in 2014, will likely be delayed into 2016.
In the meanwhile, more communities in diverse parts of the country are feeling the effects of fracking as they wait for protections to be put in place. This Institute highlights a few of those communities and identifies some promising approaches and scientific resources to help secure policies that will protect health.
Ohio: Frontier for Fracking Medical Emergency Right-to-Know
Fracking Around the Everglades?
Hydraulic Fracturing in the Urban Fabric
Angela Johnson Meszaros
Common-Sense Bills Would Close Unwarranted Loopholes for Fracking
A Wealth of Scientific Resources on Hydraulic Fracturing
Seth B. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH
Unconventional Natural Gas Development: Exposure Symptoms in Southwestern Pennsylvania
Beth Weinberger, PhD; Raina Rippel; and Celia Lewis, PhD
The views expressed in these essays are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Physicians for Social Responsibility.