PA Public Health Expert Destroys NY Health Study, Frack Ban

radio on the airThe Joint Landowners Coalition of New York (JLCNY) is a 70,000-member group of frustrated landowners who have had their Constitutional property rights stripped away by a spineless governor. In an effort to get the truth out about shale drilling and its affects–both good and bad–the JLCNY has taken to the airways with a periodic (every 3-4 weeks) radio program that airs Sunday evenings for an hour on Binghamton’s WNBF 1290 AM radio station. This past Sunday night the latest program aired and it was a must-listen program. The special guest was Dr. Theodore Them, MD, MS, PhD, MPH. Dr. Them is a specialist in environmental medicine working at Guthrie, the 19th largest health care system in the United States. Dr. Them lives in Bradford County, PA, within five miles of 100+ Marcellus Shale gas wells. Dr. Them was on the program to discuss the so-called “health impacts” report recently delivered by New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker (see After 6+ Years, Andrew Cuomo Bans Fracking in New York). Dr. Them, in our considered opinion, completely destroyed the “findings” in Zucker’s report. We have the full one-hour program below for your listening edification…

A few notes before you listen:

* The program is co-hosted by Vic Furman and Frank Chernega, both members of the JLCNY, both New York residents, and both (we’re proud to say) MDN subscribers and friends. Vic and Frank do a great job hosting the program.

* In Q&A format, Dr. Them tackles a variety of issues, including water, frac sand, air quality and more. He uses real science to debunk the faux science used by Zucker.

* Dr. Them himself compiled a report on the health impacts of shale drilling (or lack thereof), based on data from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Dr. Them’s published report was completely ignored by Zucker and not referenced in Zucker’s final report. Instead, Zucker quotes from unpublished reports funded by anti-drilling groups.

* Dr. Them has an advanced degree in public health–the “gold standard” for any physician who is qualified to research and evaluate “public health” impacts. Dr. Howard Zucker? He’s a pediatrician and anesthesiologist! Zucker does NOT have an MPH as does Dr. Them. Who would you say is more qualified to evaluate the true impacts of drilling on public health? Someone trained and practicing in the field for decades, and someone who lives in an area where it occurs? Or someone who lives in New York City and treats children all day long?

Dr. Them is a towering intellect compared with the mental midgetry of Zucker. It’s plain to us that Zucker was elevated to his position to be a rubber stamp for a political decision–to give Cuomo’s decision the veneer of science. Under the surface of that veneer is rotten, political, stinky self-interest. Why are we not surprised?

Some of the issues Dr. Them addresses in the interview:

  • Whether or not he feels comfortable letting his children play near fracking operations.
  • The issue of frac sand/silica and how it’s treated in the NY report, including who’s most at risk (and who isn’t).
  • The trend in studies in PA & OH that do not see an increase in methane contamination of water wells.
  • What kinds of health impacts from drilling he has witnessed in his own practice.
  • What about high levels of strontium and arsenic in water supplies near fracking locations.
  • How the NY Dept. of Health repeatedly promised but never delivered data requested by Them under a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request. Why is that?
  • The fact there are no independent studies that conclude shale drilling creates a negative health impact on local populations. None.
  • An extended talk about the Geisinger/Guthrie plan to collect data and share it with researchers–what happened to that plan.
  • The chemicals used in fracking fluids are the same chemicals you find under the kitchen sink–and in foods like ice cream.
  • The hypocrisy of Finger Lakes wineries who oppose drilling yet they themselves are polluting Seneca Lake (and other lakes) with pesticides they use–far more harmful for the environment than fracking.

This is one hour of your life worth spending to hear a real expert. Take the time to listen: