Thursday, June 19, 2014

Health Workers told to Put a Lid on it

fracking a well near a home in PA
Over the past few years many Pennsylvania residents living in the gas fields have registered a number of health complaints. They've called everyone from their own doctors to the state's Department of Health. The response: nothing.

Now we know why.The people charged with protecting the public health were told to zip their lips when it came to issues on Marcellus Shale Drilling. Two retirees from the PA Dept. of Health recently spoke to the media and said they were specifically instructed not to return phone calls from residents with health concerns. They were also told they couldn't speak about drilling and health issues at public meetings and were given a list of "buzzwords" identifying issued about which they were to remain silent. Read more here.

Meanwhile, a scientist at the University of Texas, Arlington, is collecting samples from more than 500 private wells to determine whether drilling for oil and gas - and burying chemical waste generated by the O&G exploration - is contaminating groundwater. The project is NOT sponsored by the state environmental regulators, nor is it sponsored by the gas industry. Looks like UT Arlington is shelling out the expenses for this all on its own.

Researcher, Kevin Shug, can't say anything about these samples - the data isn't in yet. However, in a 2013 analysis of samples from 100 wells in the Barnett Shale  he found that one third of the wells had elevated levels of heavy metals including arsenic and selenium.

So, while scientists are investigating health impacts, health professionals can't talk about it.