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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Newly released documents from the Pennsylvania Department of Health on fracking-related health complaints reveal a lack of follow-through and inaccurate record-keeping.

Dr. David Brown is a toxicologist who has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He treats patients exposed to fracking chemicals in southwest Pennsylvania. Dr. Brown says he was “appalled” by both the DEP and the DOH response.
Empty water jugs used to haul clean water hang from a house in the small town of Rea, Washington County. Residents suspected nearby gas drilling as the culprit. The DEP investigation concluded drilling was not to blame. According to newly released documents, the Department of Health did little to follow up.

"Brown says Headley’s exposure story is similar to patients he’s treated at the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, a clinic established to care for people exposed to toxins related to natural gas drilling.“We’ve done detailed exams of well over a hundred people and we always see [exposures to toxic] air and sometimes we see air and water [exposures] combined,” he said. “It’s episodic. You can go for some days and nothing happens, and then something happens.” But he also says that DEP would know the substances released during the incident and should have followed up with Headley.
Dr. Amy Pare at her practice in suburban Pittsburgh. Case numbers 6 and 19 were related to her patients. She says attempts to get help from the PA Department of Health were frustrated by constant requests for more information and "paranoid" staffers.

The Right-to-Know request includes documented calls from workers worried about OSHA violations, and toxic chemicals melting their boots. Health professionals and staffers from the federal Centers for Disease Control also made calls on behalf of residents seeking information. Dr. Amy Pare, a plastic surgeon in Washington County, confirmed to StateImpact that case numbers 6 and 19 were related to her patients.Pare says it was difficult to get any information from the Department of Health. She says she provided hundreds of pages of health data on workers and residents she treated for skin lesions. “We faxed hundreds of pages to them,” she said. “After a while my staff said we can’t do this anymore. If you want to be a crusader, you need to do it yourself.”  So Dr. Pare took over. But she says the agency kept telling her they needed more information. “They would say something like, they didn’t have page three. But they didn’t need page three.”"

Whose health is our Department of Health monitoring....the health of gas industry profits, by the looks of it.