Letter to Commissioner Shah

March 26th, 2011

Nirav R. Shah, M.D., M.P.H.
Commissioner, New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower
Empire State Plaza,
Albany, NY 12237

 

Dear Dr Shah,

 

I am following up on the letter sent to you several weeks ago from a large group of medical doctors, scientists and other health professionals regarding public health and hydrofracking.

 

Since we have not had a response, I am re-sending our original letter to you, as well as this summary and additional signatories we have collected since the letter was sent to you on March 1st. In addition to the individual signatories, the Physicians for Social Responsibility, National, Washington, DC, have signed this letter since February 28th.

 

To summarize our requests, we again respectfully ask that the SGEIS on hydraulic fracturing in Marcellus and other tight shales combined with horizontal drilling be expanded at this time to include human health impacts.

 

The public health concerns are the following:

  • DOH had inadequate input into the drafting of the SGEIS as it is clear from the contents of that document that human health was not addressed adequately;
  • the medical community has had inadequate input; in fact, many physicians are just now learning about hydrofracking;
  • public health hazards of the lifecycle of gas drilling with horizontal hydrofracking were not addressed;
  • the SGEIS contains no health impacts assessment;
  • the potential health impacts may have serious and widespread negative public health consequences;
  • exemptions from federal health laws which would have served to protect public health have not been addressed in the current SGEIS.

 

We therefore request:

  • involvement of the NYS DOH in all matters concerning gas drilling with hydraulic fracturing in Marcellus and other tight shales;
  • co-lead agency status of the DOH with the DEC on the SGEIS, as the EPA recommended, and to consider other steps that can be taken to evaluate the risks to public health prior to the State permitting hydraulic fracturing;
  • involvement of the medical community, including the many leading research and health institutions within NY State in assessing the risks to human health via a comprehensive Health Impacts Assessment, coordinated by the NYS DOH;
  • an expansion of the scope of the SGEIS to include the Health Impacts Assessment;
  • inclusion in the SGEIS of all the exempted provisions of the federal public health and environmental laws;
  • a prohibition of all hydrofracking while a health impacts assessment is being done and the findings reviewed by all stakeholders as to whether the risks to human health are worth the gas extracted.

We again respectfully request a meeting to review these necessary measures and will follow up in a week.

 

Regards,
Larysa Dyrszka, MD

 

Additional Signatories to Letter for Nirav R. Shah, MD

Physicians for Social Responsibility, National, Washington, DC
Perry Sheffield, MD, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Philip J. Landrigan, MD, Dean for Global Health, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
James E. Cone, MD, Medical Director, World Trade Center Health Registry, New York, NY
Vinod Namana, MSSM MPH, Hicksville, NY
Shruti Kumar, Flushing, NY
Allina Nocon, MPH Student, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Mahak Jain, MSBS Student, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
Prashant Vempati, MSBS Student, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Anita Lui, MSBS, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine
Emily Pepyne, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY
J. Legha, NY School of Medicine, New York, NY
Joel Kupferman, Esq., NY Env. Law & Justice Project, New York, NY
Mohanie Sahades, N.Y.C.C.T., Ozone Park, N.Y.
Dr. Pulmer, Columbia University, New York, NY
Lila J. Kalinich, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY
Ani Tilozian, Cornell University/Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y.
Naomi Silberstern, RPH, Registered Pharmacist N.Y., Washington State, Florida 1620 Ave. I, Brooklyn, NY
Jesse Cohen, MD MPH Student, New York, NY
Kathy Kiverson Hecht, Volunteer for MSSM Global Health Training Center, Princeton Jct., NJ
Zoey Luskaris, MPH Hunter Collage/ CBNS Queens College, Brooklyn, NY
Michall Ignot, DO, Candidate NY College of Osteopathic Medicine, Brooklyn NY
Penelope Suero, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Brooklyn, NY
Courtney Nagel, MD, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York, NY
Caitlin O’Brien, MD, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York, NY
Joseph Truglio, MD, New York, NY
Justine Witzke, MSSM Student, New York, NY
Sweta Patel, MSSM Student, New York, NY
Mansi Mehta, MPH Student, Lake Hiawatha, NJ
Jonathan Jimenez, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Medical Student, New York, NY
Xenia Lynn Teresa Williams, Heartsoul Ekonomia Institute, New York, NY
Temitape Awosogba, Medical Student, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, NYC, NY
Elena Rohona, Medical Student, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Brooklyn, NY
Fred Chyke, Cert. Industrial Hygienist (NYLDEP), Flushing, NY
Bonnie Wifler, Sierra Church, New York, NY
Barry Castleman, ScD Environmental Consultant, Garrett Park, MD
Jonathan Ripp, Associate Director, Global Health Training Center, New York, NY
Teodora Romano
Jamie Zimmerman, Medical Student, New York, NY
Margaret Rafferty, NDNP MPH, New York, NY
Herline Dolce, RN AAS, Brooklyn, NY
Elena Limonile, RN, Brooklyn, NY
Carlos A. Castro, RPA-C Mt. Sinai/ MMSc Physician Assistant, MPH Student, Jackson Heights, NY
Ramon Murphy, MD, Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York, NY
Nedra Huffman, MPH, New York, NY
Dr. Judith Hodge, DVM, MPH Candid. NYU Master Global Public Health Program, New York, NY
Torian Easterlina, MD, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY
Michael R. Dillon, PhD, AAIDD, New York, NY
Marie Park, Retired Scientist, New York, NY
Loraine O’Neil, RN MPH, New York, NY
Santish Niraula, MD, MBBS, Tribhuvan University, Staten Island, NY
Lauren Peccoralo, MD, MSSM, ABM, New York, NY
Shreedhar Paudel, Mt. Sinai School of Med., Staten Island, NY
Anna Koulova, New York Medical College, Bronx, NY
Antoinette Kuzminski, MD, Fly Creek, NY
Joseph Gilbert, MSSM MPH Student, Astoria, NY
Arlene Bregman, DrPH, Bethel, NY

Additional signatories, added May 2011
Shaleshock Action Alliance (Sara Hess)
Westchester for Change (Susan Van Dolsen)

The following group of physicians are residents of, and practice in Sullivan County, NY
IA Shahid Chouhdry, MD
Michael Siegel, MD
Amasit Gill, MD
Erie Agustin, MD
Shu Chu, MD
Arthur Goldstein, MD
Scott Morgan, MD
Dreher Patel, MD
Camille Irvelyne, MD
Julie Steiner, MD
Hussein Omar, MD
Barry Scheinfeld, MD
W Sidorowicz, MD
Darshman Trivedi, MD
Clifford Teich, MD
Dr Zipparo
Cherif Makram, MD
Renu Seth-Jerath, MD
David Schwalb, MD
Umhey & Raspa, MD, PC

Additional signatories:
Julia Parete, NP Adult and Women’s Health, Ithaca, NY
Jessica Ernst B.Sc., M.Sc., President Ernst Environmental Services, Rosebud, Alberta, Canada
Bob Stuart, Spiritwood, SK, Canada