Author Topic: New Pennsylvania law places a gag order on doctors over “fracking” chemicals  (Read 1732 times)

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Offline Storm Fox

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(Quick rundown of the story…)
A provision that's buried in the text of a recent Pennsylvania law amendment, basically denies doctors in the state from telling their patients what’s wrong with them, or what caused the problem if it’s caused by fracking chemicals.
Which are chemical additives used in the “fracking” process of extruding natural gas.

State law says that a company must disclose any chemicals used in fracking fluids to any health professional that requests the information.
But a provision in the new law requires such health professionals to sine a non-discloser confidentiality agreement.
Which prevents them from telling anyone of what chemicals someone was exposed to, which includes their own patients.
The doctors can not event talk about what side effects the chemicals can cause.

Quote from: Politicol News http://www.politicolnews.com/doctor-gag-order-in-pennsyvania-on-fracking-chemicals
The new law called Act 13 of 2012 is an amendment to Title 58 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. This law will prevent doctors from speaking to epidemiologists, pediatricians for children and other health officials and stops them from consulting with each other!!

As a doctor takes their Hippocratic oath they also agree to diagnose and prevent harm to other human beings but now they are prevented from doing so for their patients and the public.
Quote from: Politicol News http://www.politicolnews.com/doctor-gag-order-in-pennsyvania-on-fracking-chemicals
There are 650 deadly chemicals used in gas fracking and 5,255 gas wells in Pennsylvania while dozens are added each week since the gas company’s receive full open access to drill anywhere and anytime totally unregulated by the EPA.

Pennyslvania doctors are now gagged from speaking about 73 specific diseases related to gas fracking toxicity in the gas company chemicals. The law is without precedent and will hamper health officials from collecting data that would protect the public’s health.
Quote from: The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/03/for-pennsylvanias-doctors-a-gag-order-on-fracking-chemicals/255030
A 2010 congressional investigation revealed that Halliburton and other fracking companies had used 32 million gallons of diesel products, which include toxic chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, in the fluids they inject into the ground. Low levels of exposure to those chemicals can trigger acute effects like headaches, dizziness, and drowsiness, while higher levels of exposure can cause cancer.
Quote from: The Atlantic http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/03/for-pennsylvanias-doctors-a-gag-order-on-fracking-chemicals/255030
The limits on what doctors can say about those chemicals makes it impossible to either assuage or affirm the public's concerns about health impacts. "People are claiming that animals are dying and people are getting sick in clusters around [drilling wells], but we can't really study it because we can't see what's actually in the product," said State Senator Daylin Leach.


Now I for one am absolutely appalled by this, and yet, I’m not entirely surprised, as similar gag orders existed over the BP oil spill to hide the damage and danger of toxic chemicals there.

But all of this makes me wonder what other things like this are out there, (simply unknown to the public), all to protect companies like Halliburton, ExxonMobil, BP Global, DuPont, Monsanto, Bayer, etc.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2012, 02:40:42 pm by Storm Fox »
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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I tried to do a little digging on this afrer you posted this topic, but there isn't much more out there. Just the same stuff repeated by different people. I didn't even find a quote of the actual legislation dealing with disclosure specifically. So without that or any sort of counter view (other than some forum posts) of the issue, I'm going to have to be a little neutral on this. One thing I did find is a website that lists wells and chemicals used in them, but it's relatively new and doesn't have every well in the nation yet from what I saw in the aforementioned forums. There was also some talk that the chemicals that doctors can't talk about are considered "proprietary trade secrets", which may mean that the gag order didn't specifically say doctors can't talk about them or have access to the information. It may have been worded to be aimed at preventing companies from getting their competitors secrets, and this gag order is another one of those unintended consequences that governments are so well known for when making laws and regulation. Again, without seeing the actual text of the law, we can't know for sure.

There was one article that was posted a few days ago where a PA lawmaker is trying to do away with the gag order in an amendment or something, which would be good. *IF* this story is as bad as it is being made out to be, then if I were a doctor, I'd say screw the gag order. I'd find out the chemicals, sign the NDA or whatever, but still talk to patients about it if I think they are suffering from fraccing chemicals. Let the oil companies take me to court. I'm sure I'd win because someone's life is more important, even if it has to go to the Supreme Court.
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Offline Kobuk

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Just goes to show that big companies and the money they make are more important than the common citizen. We're just "cattle" to be used and abused.  >:(  x_x
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Offline Yip

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*IF* this story is as bad as it is being made out to be, then if I were a doctor, I'd say screw the gag order. I'd find out the chemicals, sign the NDA or whatever, but still talk to patients about it if I think they are suffering from fraccing chemicals. Let the oil companies take me to court. I'm sure I'd win because someone's life is more important, even if it has to go to the Supreme Court.
Assuming all of this is correct, I doubt they'd go very far in prosecuting doctors for telling their patients. They would likely want to avoid drawing too much media attention.

Offline Storm Fox

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I doubt they'd go very far in prosecuting doctors for telling their patients. They would likely want to avoid drawing too much media attention.
A lot of large companies have a far reach in their financial interests, and the media, news organizations, TV stations, and such, all have sponsors.

So no matter what happens, most in the media are not going to report on things that are detrimental to their own income / survival.
You don‘t bite the hand that feeds you, would be the best way to put it, that’s why most stories like this don’t get much attention outside of the internet.
And that’s not even getting into the fact that the majority of all media, (in America), is controlled by just six companies.

And so long as something that’s news worthy, (but also harmful to a sponsor or parent company), stays below a certain level of exposure.
Then all media outlets that stand to lose money, will gladly let such stories fade into obscurity, and are far more likely to spend their time reporting on something like a celebrity wedding, or some other crap.
Because for some reason, anything with celebrities, increases ratings, increased rating means that they can charge more for ad space, which means they make more money.

Because that's what it's all about, money, …even the gag order it's self is about money, (protecting intellectual property, and trade secrets), so that companies with billions can make billions more, unhindered.

So in short, I don't think that the companies that cause news worthy problems would care, since they essentially own the media in one way or another.
And if they can prosecute someone for violating the gag order, they will, even if to do nothing more than to set an example to others who might do the same.
Large companies are known for having arrogant business practices, they know they can do whatever they want, and they know that the majority of the excessively ignorant populace will simply let them.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 03:55:53 pm by Storm Fox »
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Offline Kobuk

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Sheeple.  :P


Bahh. Bahhh!
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