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New York group issues position paper on health study

By Bob Downing Published: October 9, 2012
A statement issued last week by New Yorkers Against Fracking:
 
On behalf of New Yorkers Against Fracking, Dr. Kathleen Nolan and Sandra Steingraber  have written a position paper on the application of a Health Impact Assessment for fracking.
 
Here attached is the fully referenced report, as a pdf file. You can find the unreferenced version posted as a blog here: http://nyagainstfracking.org/.
 
 
The Back Story:
 
As you know, Governor Cuomo has announced that our temporary moratorium on fracking will not be lifted until health effects are studied. His announcement is a direct result of intense and sustained pressure from our grassroots movement, which has engaged the medical and scientific community in our collective opposition.
 
The gas industry, unhappy about this delay, is exerting intense counter-pressure.
 
 
However, rather than commission an independent, comprehensive Health Impact Assessment (HIA)--a set of protocols recommended by the World Health Organization and our own U.S. Centers for Disease Control--Governor Cuomo has directed New York's state Department of Health (DOH) to review an ad-hoc study of some kind (no one has seen it) conducted by our state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) .
 
 
The attached position paper makes the case for a comprehensive, transparent HIA conducted by an independent team of investigators. We denounce the decision to allow the fate of 19.5 million New Yorkers to hinge on the results of a hasty, secretive "review" conducted by two state agencies led by political appointees.
 
 
Our position paper:
 
While specific to the political situation in New York, we hope the description of a Health Impact Assessment and the health effects analysis in this paper will be useful to our anti-fracking colleagues elsewhere. We also explicate five other reasons for a ban on fracking in NYS, apart from the possible health effects.
 
 
The key message of this paper: We have spent four years discussing the possible impacts of fracking on roads and trees, as part of the sGEIS process. The health of New Yorkers deserves equal attention. Any health effects that are identified through an aggressive investigation and that are not eliminate-able should serve to stop the approval of fracking.
 
 
You are free to distribute.
 
 
New Yorkers Against Fracking held a press conference in Albany earlier today where we also released a letter to the Governor written by pediatrician Larysa Dyrszka and signed by dozens of health professionals and healthcare advocates.
 
This letter echoes the call for a comprehensive HIA. Signatories include luminaries such as David Carpenter, MD, School of Public Health at SUNY Albany and Philip Landrigan, MD, dean at Mt. Sinai and director of the Children's Environmental Health Center. Many members of the press were in attendance, so stay tuned for coverage. Dr. Dyrszka is continuing to solicit signatures.
 
Medical scientists and health professionals interested in the letter can read it here: http://www.slideshare.net/MarcellusDN/health-care-providers-letter-to-gov-andrew-cuomo-against-fracking.
 
 
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