Southern Tier residents held a rally and press conference today raising grave concerns about the health impacts of fracking. Recent scientific studies cause major alarm about health impacts from the air pollution, water contamination and community impacts of fracking. Speakers included Kathy Nolan, MD, residents from across the Southern Tier and Pennsylvania residents familiar with the impacts of fracking.
Residents also pointed to the Feb. 4 Siena College poll, which showed that the gas industry’s claims of support for fracking in the Southern Tier are false. The Siena poll found a narrow majority of Southern Tier residents opposed to fracking. The resounding message on Wednesday was "Governor Cuomo, don’t frack our health!"
"With the lives and health of New Yorkers at stake, we call on Governor Cuomo to keep fracking's poisons out of our air, water and soil by requiring that all existing scientific and health data be studied and presented to the public within the framework of a comprehensive, rigorous, open and participatory Health Impact Assessment," said Dr. Kathy Nolan, with Catskill Mountainkeeper.
Gerri Wiley, registered nurse and Tioga County resident said, "Governor Cuomo, you are a strong leader who loves New York as we do. As Southern Tier residents, we are here today to support your vision of a thriving New York and to call on you to protect our communities by banning fracking."
They called on Governor Cuomo to open the secret health review, which is being conducted by the Department of Health, for public comment and participation. Rather than undertake a comprehensive health impact assessment of fracking that would involve transparency and public participation, the governor's administration instead hired three outside experts to spend a woefully inadequate 25 hours reviewing the state's own internal health review.
Meanwhile, other parts of the country are pursuing studies related to the health impacts of fracking. For Governor Cuomo to approve fracking at this time, he would be going leaps and bounds over the science. In the last month, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced intent to study radiation associated with fracking. The University of Pennsylvania announced a significant independent health study in collaboration with other leading universities. And Governor O’Malley of Maryland recently announced $1.5 million to study the impacts of fracking. The New York State health review is an internal review of an internal review, far short of the health impact study that New York’s medical and scientific community has overwhelmingly called for.
Craig Stevens, resident of Silver Lake Township in Pennsylvania who has first-hand experience with health impacts of fracking, said, “Here in Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court found parts of Act 13—which places a gag order on doctors—unconstitutional, but our own emergency response services know about all of the dangers and problems with fracking.”
Sue Rapp of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy said, "Until a complete health impact assessment on fracking is undertaken, communities where people live and work should not be testing grounds for industrial experiments.”
The organization noted last week’s very successful launch of Save the Southern Tier, a new network of Southern Tier anti-fracking organizations working to get the truth out about fracking. Rapp said, “Vestal Residents for Safe Energy stands with Save the Southern Tier in imploring the Governor to do the right thing to safeguard public health and the environment from irreparable harm.”
In addition, Vestal Residents for Safe Energy said:
It is a matter of common sense that the industrial activity of fracking poses a danger to neighborhoods and brings with it risks to health, safety, property values and the comfort of home.
A Siena Poll released yesterday showed that the gas industry’s and Senator Libous’ assertion that the Southern Tier wants fracking couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, people in the Southern Tier are almost evenly divided on the question, and 51 percent—42 percent of Southern Tier residents would support a moratorium on fracking if the governor gives fracking a green light. According to the poll, fracking opponents will be much more upset if it moves forward than fracking supporters will be if it does not. The Southern Tier has the highest ratio of anti-fracking sentiment in the state, with the largest percentage in the state of those who feel passionately that fracking should not proceed.
Vestal Residents for Safe Energy stands with Save the Southern Tier and New Yorkers Against Fracking to implore the Governor to do the right thing to safeguard public health and the environment from irreparable harm. Any project announced by the Governor to frack even one well in the Southern Tier will be met with unprecedented resistance from the anti-fracking movement. We will make history in New York by protecting our residents and saying NO to the industry. NOT ONE WELL!
Visit EcoWatch’s FRACKING page for more related news on this topic.
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Where Does the Deficiency Begin?<p>Nobody knows exactly how much vitamin D a person actually needs. The question of when a deficiency starts is correspondingly controversial. However, vitamin D is becoming increasingly popular.Not only is the pseudo-scientific literature on the "sun vitamin" experiencing an upswing, but the number of published studies has also increased enormously in recent years. For example, in 2019 <a href="https://academic.oup.com/edrv/article/40/4/1109/5126915" target="_blank">a study found that</a> Vitamin D is responsible for keeping the skeleton functional and is associated with cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and various types of cancer. <br></p>
An All-Rounder<p>Vitamin D levels in the body rise and fall according to sun exposure. If sufficient UV rays reach the skin, the body is able to produce the vitamin itself. However, the human body only derives an estimated 10 to 20 percent of its daily requirement from food.</p><p>The vitamin D that we synthesize from sunlight or food is not biologically active at first. Before the kidneys can produce the biologically active form of the vitamin, known as calcitriol, and release it into the blood, some metabolic processes must take place beforehand.</p><p>In addition, many organs have receptors to which the precursor of calcitriol binds. Further, this substance is also present in blood.</p><p>From this precursor, the organs then produce calcitriol themselves, which the body then uses for countless other processes in the body. This form of vitamin D thus regulates insulin secretion, inhibits tumor growth, and promotes the formation of red blood cells as well as the survival and activity of macrophages, which are important for the <a href="https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/7/2502/htm" target="_blank">immune system.</a></p>
Low Vitamin D, Severe COVID-19 Disease?<p>A research study carried out <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352364620300067?via%3Dihub" target="_blank">at the University of Hohenheim</a> has now established a link between vitamin D deficiency, certain previous diseases, and severe cases of COVID-19.</p><p>According to the study, "there is a lot of evidence that several non-communicable diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome) are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of severe COVID-19 events."</p><p>"This statement is completely correct," said Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital of Würzburg. However, he qualifies that it is a pure association, "i.e. a mere observation that these events occur together.</p><p>Dr. Fassnacht is very critical of the hype surrounding vitamin D, but not because he denies the vitamin serves important functions. However, studies on humans have not been able to show that vitamin D has the healing powers many often propagate.</p><p>Fassnacht says, "If you take a closer look, the hopes that the administration of vitamin D has a healing effect have not been confirmed so far."</p>
Association Versus Intervention Studies<p>Many studies on the vitamin are association or observational studies. "By definition, these studies cannot prove the causal relationship, but only point to mere correlations," said Fassnacht. The physician tries to illustrate this with an example:</p><p>"Imagine two groups of 80-year-olds. One group is spry, active and does sports. If you compare them with another group living in nursing homes, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different."</p><p>But to try to explain the difference in fitness by vitamin D status alone is far too simplistic. "Vitamin D levels are a good measure of how sick someone is. But not more," says Fassnacht. </p><p>According to Fassnacht, none of the intervention studies carried out to date -- that specifically examined the effect of vitamin D on various diseases -- has been able to confirm the previous association and laboratory studies or the presumed positive effect of vitamin D.</p>
Further Research Is Needed<p>"If a coronavirus infection is suspected, it is therefore absolutely necessary to check the vitamin D status and quickly correct any possible deficit," said the recommendation of the paper published by the University of Hohenheim.</p><p>"Studies are underway to see whether vitamin D helps in COVID-19 infection, but I personally do not believe that this is really the case," says endocrinologist Fassnacht. Nevertheless, he says it is of course useful to carry out these studies.<br></p><p>"I don't want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose," he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a severe deficit.</p><p>In view of the study situation, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, nationwide vitamin D substitutes. "My belief that the vitamin helps somewhere is very low. But, of course, I can be wrong."</p>
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