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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Fracking Study & Health Problems

Passing this article along as an FYI.

It's only one study, and it's sure to be attacked by the natural gas folks.

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A recent article ( 7/13/15 ) in the Daily Item about the Susquehanna caught my attention, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it was written by an occasional commenter to this blog, Dr. Bill Yingling.
Since my multiple attempts to logon to that site were met with a significant number of pop-ups, I'll offer the text of Bill's letter here:

"In a recent editorial titled the “Cruel irony of natural springs,” those springs located in the Susquehanna watershed, the writer stated that “following the extensive — and expensive — filtering process, the water pouring from our taps is safe to drink.” At the conclusion of the article he further writes, “It is important to remember, however, that danger lurks where we may not expect it.” How true!
This is clearly the case with all those people drinking water from the Susquehanna watershed. The United States Geologic Service (USGS) has demonstrated more than 30 organic chemicals in the organs of smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna watershed. These bass are experiencing reproductive abnormalities, immune system impairment and cancer.

If the chemicals are in the bass they are in the water that is withdrawn for drinking purposes.
In a study, spanning 3 years, done by the USGS and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, both pharmaceutical chemicals and organic chemicals known as endocrine disruptors (called chemicals of emerging concern) were found in stream water from the Susquehanna watershed. One of the main sources of these chemicals was from inadequate treatment of sewage. It is obvious that sewage treatment does not remove pharmaceuticals and dissolved organic chemicals from water; unfortunately neither does mechanical or membrane filtration process used by most water supply companies unless some type of carbon filtration is used. So, the chemicals that those smallmouth bass have in their organs and which are causing their problems are very likely in water supplied for drinking from the Susquehanna watershed.

Fortunately we have virtually eliminated water-borne diseases like cholera, typhoid, dysentery and smallpox from our water supplies. That is good. But what has taken their place? Realize that in 1915 the incidence of childhood cancer was small (adult cancer was much less too). Today, depending on age, cancer is the No. 1 disease of children and the number two disease in adults. Cancer is a disease of the immune system. Other human diseases associated with the immune system like rheumatoid, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, various types of colitis and thyroiditis were not near as common either. Research is pointing more and more to the damaging effect that organic chemical pollutants in our environment have on the immune system and the DNA of living organisms.
Environmental contamination can be in found in the food we eat and the air we breathe. But we are told that our water is safe to drink. Is it really?

We are told that the levels of pharmaceuticals and organic chemicals in the water are too low to affect humans. They certainly are affecting the smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River. The problem is that “safe levels” of these chemicals in water for humans are based on the “Maximum Concentration Levels” and these chemicals never reach that maximal level, most are not even monitored. But what about the long-term ingestion (say over 20-30 years) of low level contaminants or the additive affect that ingesting numerous low level chemicals have on our cells?
Is our drinking water safe? Well, kind of. But if you live in a community that draws its main water supply from surface water from the Susquehanna watershed, I would ask to see proof that the techniques used to prepare the water for drinking remove all volatile and non-volatile organic chemicals from the water. Wouldn’t it be a cruel irony, or perhaps a cruel deception, if we came to understand that the water we think is safe may be helping to make us sick? "

William L. Yingling, M.D., Freeburg
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Bill is an avid fisherman who obviously cares about the health of the Susquehanna.
Excellent letter...and thanks, Bill.

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