Health Professionals Response to Governor Cuomo’s Characterization of the Science on Fracking

Press Releases

On behalf of Concerned Health Professionals of New York, Larysa Dyrszka, MD and Sandra Steingraber, PhD released the following statement in response to Governor Cuomo’s comments on Thursday about arguments on both sides of the fracking debate.

“As scientists and health professionals who have closely followed the science on drilling and fracking for many years, we respectfully take issue with Governor Cuomo’s assertion about arguments by many “credentialed academics on both sides” of the fracking debate. When the topic is impacts on public health, there are no recent, peer-reviewed reports by credentialed, independent, academic researchers that conclude that fracking is safe.  Indeed, nearly every week, new academic publications reveal that the risks created by drilling and fracking are complex, serious, and widespread and include both acute and chronic health problems.”

“Claims by the oil and gas industry to the contrary are not science, and they, along with a handful of reports funded by industry, do not belong on equal footing with rigorous, academic, independent studies. The disingenuous effort on the part of the gas industry to create a false debate and so distract attention from the evidence for harm is part of a sophisticated, coordinated propaganda strategy. In this, the gas industry has taken a page out of the playbook of the lead paint and tobacco industries of years ago when they cast aspersions on public health research findings even as Americans suffered rising rates of lead poisoning and lung cancer. Governor Cuomo should not fall for cigarette science.”

“Overwhelmingly, emerging scientific data show harms and inherent problems with drilling and fracking. We strongly urge Governor Cuomo to re-evaluate his position on the state of the science. The science is not split; research overwhelmingly shows that drilling and fracking are inherently dangerous.”

“We call again on Governor Cuomo to heed the mounting evidence of harm and enact a concrete, minimum three-five year moratorium on fracking as critically important science continues to develop.”

Background

Many medical and health organizations have raised concerns about fracking, including the New York State Medical Society, the American Lung Association in New York, the American Academy of Pediatrics in New York, Physicians for Social Responsibility, among others.

Many countries have also looked at the science and have put bans and moratoria in place, including Australia, Bulgaria, Canadian provinces of Newfoundland, Labrador and Nova Scotia, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and parts of Spain and Switzerland.