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Health

Website to be 'clearing house' for fracking health data, group says

Video by TimesUnion.com

A coalition of health professionals calling for an independent health review into fracking, launched a website on Tuesday which they say will act as a 'clearing house' for existing and developing data on the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

Speaking at the launch of the site, biologist and author Dr. Sandra Steingraber - a longtime public opponent of fracking - said the website was the coalition's way of communicating information with the public and the three external panelists contracted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to review the department's own data on the health impacts of fracking (part of its SGEIS report).

The DEC confirmed yesterday that it would be filing for a 90-day extension to a legislative deadline of November 29th to allow the state Department of Health and the three external contractors to complete their health review.

Steingraber said that she was familiar with the work of the three external experts, working with them in other matters and attending conferences with them, but that the lack of information about the terms of reference for their review of DEC data made it difficult to know how much detail they would be allowed to go into.

“We don’t have good emissions data," Steingraber said. "We don‘t have monitoring data, we don’t have human exposure data. We don’t even have registries of sick people, and so there’s just this vast pool of ignorance, that these three panelists are going to stare into. Behind it is an emerging body of evidence that is starting to show signals of harm.  The question then becomes how you deal with all the uncertainty and the evidence for harm.”

The website launch coincides with a new campaign supported by the gas drilling industry, business groups and leaseholders highlighting the prosperity of communities in Pennsylvania, where fracking has been underway for some time. 

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