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Health Advocates Call For More Information About Marcellus Shale Fracking

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A coalition of public health advocates is calling on the state to provide more information about the impact of the gas drilling technique known as "fracking."

Fracking uses water, sand, and chemicals to crack through shale so energy companies can get to the natural gas beneath.

Julie Becker, with Physicians for Social Responsibility, says fracking puts some dangerous chemicals into the environment:

"Such things as benzene. Benzene has been classified as a known carcinogen by the Centers for Disease Control," she says.  And she says a growing body of evidence from other fracking states shows the process is having a significant health impact.

But, Becker says, Pennsylvania has a poor record of investigating and recording health complaints.

Pennsylvania health secretary Michael Wolf denies that.  He says the state has received 58 fracking-related health complaints and investigated all of them.

"We have not seen any direct correlation between the complaints that have been raised with the Department of Health and Marcellus shale fracking," he told KYW Newsradio today.

Wolf says other states may collect and report data differently, but he believes the state health department is doing what's right for Pennsylvania.

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