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Public Health Considerations of the Draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement

Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy
11 Jan 2012
Adam Law and Jake Hays

Collaborators:
Larysa Dyrszka, MD, Damascus Citizens for Sustainability (HIAs)
Madelon Finkel, PhD, Weill Cornell Medical College (registries)
Sandra Steingraber, PhD, Ithaca College (cancer/carcinogens)
Marybeth Carlberg, MD, SUNY Upstate Medical University (well monitoring)

 

The verdict is still out on the public health impacts of unconventional natural gas drilling (HVHF). There have been multiple, consistent reports of adverse health effects from around the country from different shale gas plays and preliminary survey data (1,2). Yet, there have been no epidemiologic studies nor any systematic registry put in place to track such complaints. Efforts have been made to stimulate public health research, although the studies themselves have yet to conclude anything since this specific form of extraction is still so novel. While the technology was developed in Texas about decade ago it is far from perfected. In other parts of the country there has only been significant experience with shale gas development in the past three to four years. Unconventional natural gas development has gone largely unnoticed until this past year, and public health experts around the country are scrambling to catch up. In short, the scientific information for the public health impacts of high-volume hydraulic fracturing has yet to be gathered. Since Governor Cuomo has stressed the importance of science in determining the future of shale gas development in our state, areas in which there is a paucity of scientific information must be addressed in the SGEIS. One such area is the natural gas industry's potential impact on public health.

 

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