The ethics of medicine are guided by the Hippocratic Oath which commits medical professionals to the principle of health care based on, Primum non nocere -- First do no harm. Health professionals are speaking out on behalf of the public health of their patients as hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking is introduced into their communities.
Fifty years ago this month Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring a book that warned of the devastating impacts of pesticides and pollutants on human health. That seminal book led to the formation of the EPA and catalyzed a ban on DDT.
Decades after the publication of Carson’s book the alarm has escalated with fracking, a technology that is forging a global gas initiative of extreme extraction. Many of the potential human rights injustices are being ignored by governing agencies, as extreme fossil fuel is being fast tracked locally and internationally.
Environmental scientist and biologist Sandra Steingraber (and founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking) referred to as a contemporary Carson asks this,“Is fracking going to kill more New Yorkers than it employs?” She continues to be outspoken about the human rights issue of the “crime of contamination” as she shares her own story of being a cancer survivor struck with bladder cancer at the age of 20 in her environmentally-polluted town in Illinois where she grew up.
Her story is resonating across New York where it was recently announced that Governor Cuomo will not be making an imminent decision about whether to begin high-volume horizontal fracking in the Southern Tier of New York State, but instead has ordered a health study to be completed. As Mary Esch reported for the AP: