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  • Hydraulic Fracturing (Fracking): Health Effects and Disclosure of Proprietary Information

    Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) involves the injection of toxic chemicals into the ground to liberate oil and natural gas deposits. Numerous chemicals used in fracking and their byproducts are known to cause serious health effects, including significantly highter incidence of asthma and cancer.  These chemicals have been found in personal water wells, ground water, and in the soil due to accidents or poor construction practices. Many of the chemicals used in fracking are protected as proprietary information and may not be publicly disclosed. Some states have even enacted legislation restricting physicians from obtaining or disclosing Chemical information even for treatment purposes.

    The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) acknowledges that the greatest impact from fracking is felt by marginalized communities, communities of color and communities with lower incomes. These impacts include disparities in health outcomes caused by environmental degradation and reduced air quality, as well as economic impacts caused by increased industrialization and reduced property values. These communities are often limited in their ability to locally regulate or restrict fracking and its impacts by preemption in state law.

    The AAFP supports rigorous independent research into the effects of fracking on human health and the environment. The AAFP opposes any legislation that may prohibit disclosure of chemicals used in the fracking process and legislation that may interfere with physicians disclosing said information to their patients and public health officials. The AAFP also opposes legislation that uses preemption to limit communities’ ability to regulate and restrict fracking.

    (2015 COD) (January 2022 COD)