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Round Up of Useful Scientific Sources on Fracking Health Effects

On December 17th, 2014, Acting New York State Department of Health Commissioner Zucker, having analyzed reams of peer-reviewed papers, consulted with three out-of-state experts, and visited several states where gas drilling and fracking were underway, stated decisively that he could not recommend that high volume hydraulic fracturing be allowed in the great state of New York.

The NYS DOH health review can be found here, and a video of the NYS Cabinet meeting where the fracking decision was discussed is posted here (the fracking discussion starts 41 minutes in).

Towards the end of the health review are insightful summaries written by experts including Lynn Goldman from Washington DC, John Adgate from Colorado and Dick Jackson from California. All three were asked to comment on whether a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) would be useful. Of the three, only John Adgate didn’t think so, but his group already conducted an excellent HIA (abandoned in a second draft) with useful information, posted here.

Just before the decision on fracking was made, two analyses by independent health groups were made public and shared with the NYS Department of Health. The first was from our New York colleagues at the energy think-tank Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy, posted here. They analyzed relevant peer-reviewed literature on fracking and found 96% of all papers on health effects indicate risks/adverse health outcomes; 95% of all original research studies on air quality indicate elevated concentrations of air pollutants; 72% of original research studies on water quality indicate contamination or risk of contamination.

Another group, Concerned Health Professionals of New York (CHPNY), which includes several PSR-NY members, started its campaign on fracking about four years ago by asking the NYS Department of Health to get involved, and to do a Health Impact Assessment. Those are documented in CHPNY letters posted here.

CHPNY and PSR released a new edition of the “Compendium of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings of Risks and Harms of Fracking (Unconventional Gas and Oil Extraction),” available here. It documents the recent explosion in peer-reviewed publications on fracking,  nearly three quarters of which were published in the past 24 months.