Public Health England’s draft report on the environmental impact of shale gas extraction is a whitewash, writes Paul Mobbs in The Ecologist magazine, a view shared by those radical activists at, er, the British Medical Journal. Photo via Tumblr.com
Environmental expert Paul Mobbs claims that "much of the Government's current work is factually biased. And Public Health England's report, if you read the studies on which is was based, and then read its conclusions, is also biased. PHE's report, which arguably has infringed our civil rights and their own codes of practice, amounts to gross scientific misconduct. As such it undermines the very purpose of PHE's existence - to protect the nation's public health and well-being."
This "gross scientific misconduct" is an apparently deliberate whitewashing of the public health impacts of fracking, but it's all part of a pattern of maladministration that reaches to the heart of government. Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health, published their draft report in October 2013. They looked at all the evidence on the likely effects of shale gas production - usually referred to as 'fracking' - on public health.
After scouring the scientific literature for evidence of hazardous environmental impacts, gender-bending chemicals disrupting our metabolism, and of toxic and radioactive contamination of the air, soil and water, they concluded that:
"Public Health England anticipates a low risk to public health from direct releases of chemicals and radioactive material if shale gas extraction is properly operated and regulated."
The difficulty for PHE is that there is no rational way in which this conclusion could be drawn from the evidence they reviewed in their report. As stated in an editorial in the British Medical Journal last month:
"Yet, in a leap of faith unsubstantiated by scientific evidence, its authors suggest that many of the environmental and public health problems experienced in the US would probably not apply to the UK. Unfortunately, the conclusion that shale gas operations present a low risk to public health is not substantiated by the literature."
Read the full article at Mobbsey's Musings: