In communities affected by fracking, people understand the environment and their health is at risk. In Pennsylvania, a new state law requires drilling companies to tell doctors what chemicals they are pumping into the ground in order to extract natural gas. Doctors need to identify the chemicals so they can diagnose and treat patients who have been exposed. But there is a catch. Because the companies deem the chemical ingredients they are injecting into people’s backyards to be “proprietary secrets,” the law imposes a gag on doctors, meaning they are forbidden from telling anyone, including their own patients and other health professionals, what chemicals are causing the sickness. Pennsylvania’s landscape is pockmarked with over 5,000 oil and gas drilling wells, with more being added each week. Clusters of people are getting sick around the drilling wells. According to the logic of capitalism, it is more important to protect the “proprietary secrets” of oil and drilling companies than to protect public health.
Pennsylvania law gags doctors
Goal: to protect oil company profits
AuthorL Christopher Banks
Liberation news, June 13, 2012
Student Researcher: Lyndsey Casey, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips, Sonoma State University