How Fracking Is a Danger to Your Health
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Artel: What kind of litigation were you involved in?
Gieger: Twenty years ago, my loved one and almost a dozen young adults were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis after it was proven in Westchester Supreme Court, that indeed the water had been contaminated. Although proven, a statute of limitations prevented the gas company from bearing any financial responsibility and kept their record clear of this incident. The claims that the gas companies have no record of water contamination is true due to citizens, even through class action lawsuits, being unable to make these companies bear record of these incidences.
Artel: What is your reaction to Governor Cuomo’s and the DEC’s statement that they will not due an independent study but have the Department of Health (DOC) review the health impacts?
Gieger: As far as NYS conducting a Health Impact Study and NOT allowing independent health professionals/studies, this will not be a full impact study due to the fact that current methods of disease study is limited. When the NYS DOH for example releases a health study they rely on limited sectors of the population and limited disease processes. This was evident in their release of a 20-year study following the incident that affected my family. Included in the study were only numbers for leukemia in men and lung cancer in women. There is not to my knowledge an inclusion of studies to include neurologic disease including auto- immune disease, which are the first diseases one should study and look at when studying the health effects of chemical exposure.
Mary Menapace: I’m Mary Menapace, a registered nurse, born where the infamous shale outcrops are located, in the town of Marcellus. I now live in Skaneateles. I am a mother, wife and nurse. I have three college-age daughters.
I work at Upstate Medical University in the Women's Services Department, OB/GYN clinic.
Artel: How did you get involved in the issue of health and fracking?
Menapace: I got involved with the issue when I read about HVHF (High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing) Operations, as used in this general permit, about three years ago. At the end of the day, billions of gallons of water have morphed into billions of gallons of toxic radioactive waste. I’ve been trying ever since to figure out how that makes sense. I have attended scores of forums: legal, industry, medical, water, air, political and have read anything I can find on the subject. I have travelled to PA east and west and have seen a lot of NY State, especially the Southern Tier chasing informational forums.
Artel: When did you first find out about fracking and the possibility of HVHF in your community?
Menapace: There are ten wells within three miles of our home, drilled in 2006 by Chesapeake. None of them are online, they are all shut in. There’s no pipeline to them although, there is to one nearby. We saw the drilling, very impressive not knowing anything back then. The Seismic, rigs, stadium lights, trailers and trucks. Now those leases are held at a pittance, fifteen bucks an acre.
Artel: What’s your concern?
Menapace: My concern is with the build out, the whole shebang. But the waste is the big one...billions of gallons of toxic radioactive waste introduced into the human environment is the irrefutable problem. It starts as water, but the act of fracking the rock releases all those toxins...VOCs, heavy metals, salts and radioactivity. And those toxins become airborne with storage, processing and transport and soil borne with injection and spill. Those toxins get into the blood and tissue, lungs eyes and skin of humans, and animals, causing illness, injury and even death.