In areas where Marcellus Shale drilling is taking place, people are getting sick. While doctors say they can’t suspect these sicknesses are the aftermath of drilling new wells, they can make an educated guess.
Health advocates and doctors in Pennsylvania are attacking the state’s new Marcellus Shale law comparing one of its provisions to a “gag order” and are also complaining that legislative leaders stripped away $2 million annually that was used to track respiratory problems, skin conditions, stomach ailments and other illnesses potentially related to gas drilling.
The Department of Health has also recently denied giving out information on people who complain about their health – which means the public has no way of knowing how many true and valid complaints there are.
There have been recent reports of people in Pennsylvania who blame their ailments on gas drilling.
Legislative negotiators also inserted a requirement that doctors are to sign a confidentiality agreement in return for access to proprietary information on chemicals used in the fracking process. “If there’s this confidentiality agreement that you need to sign off on, how open are you to share that information, whether directly with the patient, or with the state, or for research?” said Dr. Marilyn J. Heine, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.
With many health conditions arising, and without a concise diagnosis, many are beginning to worry just how effective the new law will be. Without any clear direction from doctors and/or drilling companies, many people are being left with one single solution: stay away from well water if a drilling rig is set up in your area.