Fracking's public health hazards

We need to pay attention to the health hazards caused by the toxic chemicals used in fracking

Recently I heard a West Virginia resident describe how fracking had changed her community. She had many photographs that were even more graphic than her verbal descriptions.

Some families in her area had lost their water supply, others became ill, and natural habitats that once supported wildlife and birds had been stripped of trees and laid waste — all while traffic congestion and accidents increased dramatically and property values plummeted.

Recent research into the effects of fracking has uncovered mounting evidence that public health risks are growing in areas where fracking has occurred. The gas and oil industry, and the property owners who allow it to frack their land, stand to gain but their financial boon is often brief.

Doesn't it matter that a neighbor may have his water supply contaminated or his property lose value? Or that he may develop serious long-term health problems?

If a property owner has the right to frack regardless of how his neighbor may be affected, we have developed into a society where power is more important than people and money is more important than caring.

Garrett County has been a haven for tourists who fill their lungs with our crisp mountain air and the simple goodness of a quiet rural landscape. Can you imagine tourism thriving here once our country roads are overrun by hundreds of trucks?

I am a Garrett County native who loves our quiet rural life. Too much is at stake to ignore the mounting evidence that fracking poses a serious long-term threat to public health.

We need to focus on the scientific research and pay attention to concerned physicians who understand the health hazards posed by the toxic chemicals used in fracking. Make no mistake: ignorance is not bliss.

Ruth Yoder, Grantsville

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