nurses against fracking
June 25, 2012
As the Enoch Pratt librarians tried to rush the last questioner along and “sell some books,” a public health nurse refused to stop talking. She had a big announcement Thursday for those who had been listening to journalist Tom Wilber’s talk about fracking: The American Nurses Association on June 15 had passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on permits for fracking because of all the questions about safety and health. The audience urged her on, and she continued to list some of the impacts of fracking, including air pollution from diesel fumes, increased truck accidents on rural roads and even a study showing babies born in fracking areas have lower APGAR scores. That test evaluates infants immediately after birth to assess five criteria, including skin tone, pulse, reflexes, muscle tone and respiration.
In the resolution, the ANA said, “Human and ecological health risks are directly related to the use of coal-fired power plants, mountaintop removal of coal, offshore and onshore oil and natural gas drilling, and hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking.’” The resolution also says that nurses need to educate other health care professionals, the public and policy makers about the “relationship between human health and the critical energy issues that will require our thoughtful focus in the very near future.”
The ANA is calling for a national moratorium on new permits for fracking “until human and ecological safety can be ensured” and will promote policies that encourage energy conservation and the “use of safer, healthier alternative and renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar.”
The resolution was submitted by The Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, whose members are at ground zero for fracking. In Pennsylvania, for example, doctors and other health professionals are operating under Act 13’s so-called gag rule, which enables doctors to get information about fracking chemicals that might be making a patient sick but requires them to keep this information “confidential.” Physicians fear this bars them from discussing the chemicals with their patients. It also prevents them from disclosing this information to an endangered community.
More later on Tom Wilber’s talk about his book, Under the Surface: Fracking, Fortunes, and the Fate of the Marcellus Shale