Imagine you are a nurse working in an emergency room, and a worker on a gas fracking well comes in covered in chemicals used in the drilling process. You call the gas company to find out what chemicals are being used to help in your assessment of possible health risks to your patient, and even yourself, but find out they don't have to disclose this information.
Or, imagine you are a public health nurse in a community with many natural gas fracking wells, and you notice complaints of well-water contamination. How can you assess the extent of the issue without baseline data on water quality or knowledge of the chemicals used in the fracking process?
As nurses, we strongly support our right to know in order to protect the health of our communities and the environment. That's why the American Nurses Association House of Delegates last month passed a resolution highlighting the important role nurses play in advocating for the health of their patients and communities when faced with fracking.
As the number of natural-gas fracking wells has increased exponentially over the past 20 years, the public's right to know what chemicals are used in this process has become imperative to protect the public health. Fracking chemicals now being found in our water supplies have been linked to cancer and kidney, liver and neurological damage.
Nurses working in rural areas are also describing how the quality of life in rural communities is being destroyed by drilling, well operations and truck traffic associated with fracking.