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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fracking and Cancer - The Back-and-Forth Continues

From Colorado Public News:
A former president of the Colorado Medical Society calls the current hydraulic fracturing boom in the state’s oil and gas industry an “experiment in motion” for the public at large.
One that could lead to higher rates of cancer and other illnesses over the next 10 to 15 years.
Dr. Michael Pramenko, a Grand Junction family physician, says he isn’t as worried about acute cases of exposure to carcinogens in “fracking” fluid – although he has treated a patient who accidently guzzled cancer-causing benzene. Pramenko says he is more concerned with long-term exposure from tainted water.
“Are there people out there being exposed to low quantities [of carcinogens] that we won’t ever know about? Sure,” he said. “Are there going to be some cancers down the road that come about across the United States? I think that’s true.”
Read that whole article here.

Meanwhile, this report from The Daily Caller has a different take on the assertions made by Josh Fox that drilling and fracking can be linked to high cancer rates in Texas:
“In Texas, as throughout the United States, cancer rates fell,” Fox tells viewers in a creepy voice in his short film “The Sky is Pink.” “Except in one place: in the Barnett Shale. The five counties where there was the most drilling saw a rise in breast cancer throughout the counties.”
Simon Craddock Lee, a professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, called Fox’s claims “a classic case of the ecological fallacy.” It is false to suggest that breast cancer is linked to just one factor when things like diet, lifestyle and access to health care are also factors.
However, there has been no such spike in breast cancer rates, according to researchers.
The AP notes: “David Risser, an epidemiologist with the Texas Cancer Registry, said in an email that researchers checked state health data and found no evidence of an increase in the counties where the spike supposedly occurred. … And Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a major cancer advocacy group based in Dallas, said it sees no evidence of a spike, either.”
Fox remained adamant that his claim was correct, responding to the AP by citing a Centers for Disease Control press release and a newspaper article, neither of which appeared to support his contention.
Read that whole article here.

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