These senators must think they know more than health pros

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Letter from Laura Leete
The writer is a retired science and health teacher. 

January 27, 2017

While agreeing with Brian O’Neill’s column about the harmful effects of leaking methane into the atmosphere (“Put Methane in Its Place, Not the Atmosphere,” Jan. 15), which has a global warming potential more than 25 times greater than carbon dioxide, I also find the use of carcinogenic chemicals in the fracking process a grave threat to human health.

My state senator, Guy Reschenthaler, and nine co-sponsors of an amendment to a 1960 air pollution bill do not seem to share my concern for clean air, as they are seeking to bar the state Department of Environmental Protection from imposing any air pollution standards stronger than those of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Obviously, they seem to know more than the doctors and health care professionals in the Pennsylvania Medical Society who have called for a moratorium on fracking due to worsening asthma, premature births, neurological and mental symptoms, and other adverse effects near drilling sites. Also ignored by these senators is a new study by the Yale School of Public Health that found numerous carcinogens used in fracking also have the potential to contaminate air and water of nearby communities and to increase the risk of childhood leukemia.

The study further notes that 1,000 chemicals may be released into air and water. Information on their cancer-causing potential was lacking on 80 percent of the compounds. Fifty-five of the remaining 119 compounds were identified as confirmed or possible carcinogens; 20 are linked to increased risk for leukemia or lymphoma.

Perhaps some of the $9.5 million contributed to state candidates since 2009 and the $59 million spent lobbying against sensible regulation would be better spent on finding a cure for cancer.

Click here to take action to #CutMethane.

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