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Doctor takes her toxic exposure fears about fracking to public

"Some fights you must fight, even if you know deep down that you're going to lose," insists a family practice doctor who devotes time to warning communities about the potential health hazards connected to fracturing (also known as fracking). In a recent post about toxic exposure, we shared worries from researchers about how fracking can lead to sick animals.

The doctor's worries echo that of the researchers, but she more specifically addresses how the process of fracking can threaten the lives of children. The chemicals used during the modern drilling practice and the gases that can be emitted as a result of the process wouldn't be such a worry if fracking took place within a bubble. But the process happens close to residential areas and the contaminated air threatens neighbors' quality of life.

Residents might naively think that when they enter their homes and shut their doors that they are safe from any potential toxicity in the air. According to the doctor, that isn't necessarily true. She suggests that those who live within a half-mile of a fracking site should be careful about how often they are at their homes.

Home is supposed to be people's safe place. When they shut their doors, they should be able to reasonably believe that they are safe from the outdoor elements. Fracking, argues the doctor and other opponents of the controversial drilling process, is turning some safe havens into health hazards.

Not all health threats are visible. In the case of fracking, the public might not visibly see a change to their land within their neighborhoods, but they are likely breathing in a different quality of air compared to before. Toxic chemicals in the air can lead to serious medical problems, including cancer. Kids' exposure to such toxic air over a number of years is a worry.

The EPA has heard the concerns about fracking and even created rules for related air emissions. But those rules won't be in place until 2015, meaning that the drilling will likely continue as-is and have the effect on neighbors that it will. With the uncertainty regarding the safety of those neighbors, the waiting game is a worry for some health and environmental protection advocates.

Source: Akron Beacon Journal Online, "Ohio doctor worried about fracking, speaking in Portage County," Bob Downing, Jan. 25, 2013

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