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Pa. Lawmaker Wants To Lift Doctor-Patient Gag Order in Marcellus Shale Law

By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pennsylvania's new law governing Marcellus shale gas drilling -- Act 13 -- bars doctors and other health professions from sharing information about what chemicals are used in the process.

But a local lawmaker wants to change that, calling the current health care gag potentially lethal.

leach_daylin PCN thumb
(Pa. state sen. Daylin Leach. PCN file image)

Pennsylvania state senator Daylin Leach (right) represents parts of Delaware and Montgomery counties.  He says current law requires doctors to sign a confidentiality agreement which forbids them from sharing any information on fracking ingredients anyone else -- including patients being treated for exposure to fracking pollutants.

According to Sen. Leach, the fracking companies say those are trade secrets.  But he says the chemicals using in fracking are deadly.

"(In) one study I saw 29 separate carcinogens, about 15 different neurotoxins," he told KYW Newsradio today, "things like arsenic, benzene.  Things you wouldn't want near your body are being poured by the hundreds of thousands of gallons into the ground."

Leach says his bill would require companies to share that information with health care professionals and, in turn, those doctors and others could share that openly with their patients.

He says this is a public health issue, and trade secrets should have nothing to do with it.



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