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Medical Society of the State of New York calls for fracking moratorium

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NYS Medical group calls for moratorium on fracking in    While New York regulators have spent four years mulling the environmental impacts of shale gas development, the potential human health impacts have been given short shrift, according to health advocates.

Whether gas drilling affects health has led to heated debates. Environmentalists and people living near drilling sites say the risks include contaminated water wells and air pollution. The industry says those fears are exaggerated and that the process been used safely on tens of thousands of wells.

The Medical Society of the State of New York has called for a moratorium on natural gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing until scientific information on health impacts is available.

In a letter last fall to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, more than 250 doctors and other health care professionals cited studies in Alaska and Colorado as examples of what New York should do as regulators consider allowing hydraulic fracturing to begin.

"The purpose of a health impact assessment is to take what's known and make reasoned professional judgments about what kind of health impacts could occur, and provide recommendations to mitigate those impacts before they happen," said Roxana Witter of the Colorado School of Public Health, who led what's called the Battlement Mesa study.


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