Canadian Medial Association calls for shale gas health checks: Doctors want access to govt and industry data on potential health effects

Canadian Medial Association calls for shale gas health checks: Doctors want access to govt and industry data on potential health effects by Adam Huras, August 22, 2012, Moncton Times and Transcript [Subscription required]
FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick government’s health report on shale gas needs to include a plan to continually monitor the potential health effects of the industry alongside its development, says the head of the Canadian Medical Association. The national association of physicians wants public and timely access to all government and industry data on the potential human health effects of natural resource development projects. Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Anna Reid said the pending New Brunswick report is potentially ‘very hopeful news’ in analyzing the health risks of natural resource development. But Reid added that any report must include several specifics. ‘What we would like to see is data on what is actually emitted from shale gas in terms of what chemicals are released,’ she said. ‘We would like to see any previous studies – data of any other projects – which look at potential health impacts. ‘We also want to see a plan where there are studies going forward to monitor any potential problems that may come up.’ Reid said that physicians in the province also need access to the data and for the monitoring to be overseeing by more than just the industry itself.

She added: ‘We don’t know if those reports are true, but they need to be studied.’ Reid said a federal-provincial territorial partnership is needed ‘to monitor the effects of all natural resource extraction projects.’ She said the country’s jurisdictions need to study the health effects collectively and then release the data so it can be looked at so that physicians can help mitigate any adverse effects.

‘There’s a huge lack of data and a lot of this stuff is not being studied.’ At an annual association meeting in Yellowknife last week, Northwest Territories physician Dr. Ewan Affleck said research must go beyond studying the effects on people. It must also include food, water and air quality, as well as on people’s livelihoods, he said. … Public Health is working on a discussion paper that will make recommendations ‘to protect the health of New Brunswickers, in the event a full-scale industry is developed in the province,’ according to Department of Health spokeswoman Jennifer Graham. … ‘Since we are years away from a fully developed industry in New Brunswick, there is time to examine the potential health benefits of the industry as well as how health impacts can be mitigated. ‘As part of its work, Public Health is reviewing shale gas development throughout North America.’ Public Health had hoped to have a final paper later this summer, although Graham confir med Tuesday that the report will not like be made public for at least two more weeks. Reid said each project needs a specific report analyzing potential health risks. ‘I think on such major projects with potentially a large human health impact it does have to be studied in a report specific to that project,’ she said. ‘What the physicians at the Canadian Medical Association are asking for is if we are going to help mitigate any potential adverse health effects we actually need to have the studies there to see what is going on.’ [Emphasis added]

This entry was posted in Case Related, Global Frac News. Bookmark the permalink.