The Scandal Of Public Health England’s Outdated Fracking Health Report

Earlier this month saw the fifth publication of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking by Concerned Health Professionals of New York and the Nobel Peace Prize-winning group, Physicians for Social Responsibility. Their conclusion was simple:

“Our examination…uncovered no evidence that fracking can be practiced in a manner that does not threaten human health.”

Here in the UK, four years have now passed since Public Health England published their final version of a health report on fracking. The report was narrow in its remit and missed out some critical health evidence that indicated fracking has impacts on public health.

Earlier this week, MP for West Lancashire, Rosie Cooper, received a letter (attached) from Public Health England’s Chief Executive, Duncan Selbie, which suggests that PHE is still relying on poor and outdated science and has no intention of reviewing four years of quality, peer-reviewed evidence.

In 2017, Lancashire anti-fracking campaigners visited Public Health England, to hand-deliver a petition of over 6,000 signatures, which urged the body to take action and review its report on health and fracking, which is now over four years out-of-date.

Lancashire campaigners Claire Stephenson and Dr Frank Rugman, a retired haematology consultant, delivered the petition to the office of Public Health England, at Wellington House in London. They have since received no response from the public authority.

Since PHE’s 2014 report, hundreds of other health studies have been published with critical evidence that now needs to be taken into account before any fracking should be allowed to proceed within the UK.

Claire Stephenson said:

“By 2014, when Public Health England’s health report was published, there were approximately 400 peer-reviewed studies. Now in 2018, there are more than 1,300. This roughly translates as three times more solid scientific evidence available now than there was in 2014.

“Public Health England has a mission statement ‘to protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities’. If they are to fulfil their public duty without breach, then they must acknowledge the mounting evidence against fracking and health. The current PHE report is grossly outdated and leaves the public open to insurmountable negative health impacts.

“Isn’t it enough that our communities have had fracking forced upon them, let alone leaving residents unprotected and vulnerable? We are asking, as a matter of urgency, to review the latest evidence and create a new, comprehensive and more importantly, independent report.”

Renowned biologist, Dr Sandra Steingraber, one the co-authors of Scientific, Medical, and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking told Rolling Stone:

“Fracking is the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Those of us in the public health sector started to realise years ago that there were potential risks, then the industry rolled out faster than we could do our science.

“Now we see those risks have turned into human harms and people are getting sick. And we in this field have a moral imperative to raise the alarm.”
 

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