There is much concern in the U.S. about energy sources and our dependence on foreign oil. Hydraulic fracturing or fracking of shale may be a partial solution to this issue of energy independence. That's the good side of fracking. There's also a potentially bad side, and that is the contribution of exposure to chemicals associated with fracking to the decline of human health in communities, particularly rural communities.
In her recent op-ed ("The hidden health risks of fracking," July 20), Katie Huffling from the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments observes that the fracking process uses many chemicals most of which are proprietary and of unknown human toxicology. She describes a report from OMB Watch entitled, "The Right to Know, the Responsibility to Protect" which outlines an effective fracking disclosure policy.
While fracking of the Marcellus Shale has yet to be approved for western Maryland, now is the time for Marylanders to act. Tell Gov.Martin O'Malleyand your elected state representatives that before they permit fracking in Maryland that the disclosure policy advocated by OMB Watch should be put into place. Public health is about preventing disease and proper policies are an effective tool in our battle against chemical exposures and environmental public health.
Michael A. Trush, Baltimore
The writer is deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Center in Urban Environmental Health.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun