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Letter: The Alarmingly Dangerous Impacts of Fracking on Health

 As representatives of many voices in the breast cancer community on Long Island, our coalition urges Governor Cuomo to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in New York State since 25 percent of chemicals used in the fracking process have been demonstrated to cause cancer or mutations. Hydrofracking companies use products containing 13 different known and suspected carcinogens. Two of those carcinogens, benzene and ethylene oxide are linked with breast cancer as cited recently by a report released by the Institute of Medicine.

Moreover, 37 percent of chemicals in fracking fluids are endocrine disruptors which alter hormonal signaling and in doing so can place cells on the pathway to tumor formation. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has been implicated in cancers of the breast, prostate, pituitary, testicle, and ovary.

As mentioned in the Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS), if fracking is approved, trucks will transport contaminated fracking fluids from upstate New York down to several of Long Island’s waste water treatment plants, including Glen Cove, Bay Park, Inwood and parts of Suffolk County. Contaminated fracking fluids will also be transported to a number of waste water treatment plants in Manhattan as well as the other four boroughs.

As quoted by Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment of Long Island: “There are no wastewater treatment plants in New York State designed to treat wastewaters from high-volume fracking operations.”

 Long Islanders need to be aware that hydrofracking will impact our air quality on Long Island through the numerous expected diesel-truck trips on our highways. It will also increase traffic and the risk of accident spills, and contaminate our water and soil. The Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, a federally mandated study on the environmental risks to breast cancer, revealed that diesel exhaust is linked with breast cancer risk. Exposure to diesel exhaust also increases the risk of asthma, which is already prevalent on Long Island.

It’s time for Long Island to be proactive and precautionary by writing to our Governor and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that we don’t want fracking to take place in New York State. Send letters to: The Honorable Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State, New York State Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224 and submit comments on line to the DEC website: www.dec.ny. gov/energy/76838.html.

Let’s not sit back and watch a public health crisis unfold. Breast cancer and cancer rates, asthma and other environmentally-mediated chronic diseases on Long Island are already unacceptably high. What kind of legacy in New York State are we leaving to our children if our water and air quality are compromised as a result of the effects of fracking?

Laura Weinberg
President, Great Neck Breast Cancer Coalition