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John Hennessy III,

The Public Heath Implications of Unconventional Gas Drilling

Posted by Content Coordinator on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012



My name is Bernard Goldstein. I am a physician, board certified in Internal Medicine and in the subspecialty of Hematology. I am also board certified in Toxicology. My background includes appointment by President Ronald Reagan as Assistant Administrator for Research and Development of the US Environmental Protection Agency. I am an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and of the National Academies of Sciences Institute of Medicine for whom I have been a member or chair of over twenty committees involved with environmental health. Since serving in the US Public Health Service Division of Air Pollution over 40 years ago, I have written more than 200 papers or chapters on environmental health issues, including in the past year an invited review in the New England Journal of Medicine of the health implications of the Gulf Oil Spill. My current position is professor emeritus of environmental and occupational health and dean emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Our school was founded in 1948 with a commitment to be responsive to environmental pollution issues for which Pittsburgh was then infamous, and we maintain this commitment in addressing the threats posed by the very rapid development of unconventional gas drilling in our state.

My testimony, of course, represents my own views and are not necessarily those of the University of Pittsburgh. I will speak to the issue of the public health impact of unconventional natural gas drilling. My testimony today is largely based upon my experience as a physician, as a toxicologist, and as a government official who has worked in the field of environmental health for over 40 years. But, I must stress that it is also based upon personal discussion with community groups and individuals who are very concerned that their or their family’s health has been or will be affected; and with physicians who are puzzled about the appropriate answer to the questions their patients are asking.

My overall theme is that it is in the nation’s and in industry’s best interests to maximize the yield of natural gas while minimizing the short-term and long-term environmental and public health costs, and that to do so we must seriously address the possibility of adverse public health impacts. I believe that that we are ignoring many of the lessons about how to approach potential environmental health issues that we have so painfully learned over the past forty years.

Download Full Presentation (PDF): The Public Heath Implications of Unconventional Gas Drilling

About The University of Pittsburgh Department of Environmental and Occupational Health

“The mission of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health is to provide service and training and perform basic and applied research in the principles and practice of environmental health. These efforts are directed towards graduate education (masters, pre- and postdoctoral level as well as training programs in prevention and preparedness and residency in Occupational Medicine) and research spanning work at a cellular and molecular level to applied translational efforts in human disease and population studies.”

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