Parker Waichman LLP Calls for Repeal of Pennsylvania Fracking "Gag Order" Law that Prevents Doctors from Sharing Information with Patients Exposed to Fracking Fluids

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Parker Waichman LLP Calls on Pennsylvania Lawmakers to Immediately Repeal New Fracking Provision that "Gags" Doctors in the State from Sharing Information About Toxins in Fracking Fluids From Patients they are Trying to Treat.

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This law clearly demonstrates the influence and control that the gas and drilling industries have in Pennsylvania government

Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm dedicated to protecting the victims of toxic exposures, has called on the Pennsylvania State Legislature to immediately repeal a provision included in a new law that acts as a "gag order" on the state's doctors, and prevents them from disclosing information on toxic chemicals in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fluids with anyone. According to a report from Newsinferno, the law allows doctors in Pennsylvania to request and receive information on the chemical make up of fracking fluids if they are treating patients for ailments that may be related to exposure to those fluids, but they must first sign a confidentially agreement. It is feared that the fracking fluid gag order could make Pennsylvania's doctors vulnerable to legal action from drilling companies if they share such information with the very patients they are treating, Newsinferno said.

According to a report from Mother Jones, the gag order provision was not included in the version of the bill that was publically debated by the Pennsylvania House and Senate last month. Rather, it was added during negotiations between the two chambers, and many legislators who voted in favor of the law were not even aware of the addition of the physician gag order. [motherjones.com/environment/2012/03/fracking-doctors-gag-pennsylvania]

Fracking requires the discharge of enormous volumes of hydraulic fracturing fluids, otherwise known as “fracking fluid” or “drilling mud,” into the ground under extreme pressure in order to dislodge and discharge the gas contained under the ground. According to the site Public Health Watchdog, a congressional report released last year found that oil and gas service companies injected 32.2 million gallons of diesel fuel or hydraulic fracturing fluids containing diesel fuel in wells in 19 states between 2005 and 2009. According to the report, diesel fuel contains toxic chemicals, including benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. Benzene has been classified as a human carcinogen, while chronic exposure to toluene, ethylbenzene, or xylenes also can damage the central nervous system, liver, and kidneys, the report said. [democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=news/waxman-markey-and-degette-investigation-finds-continued-use-of-diesel-in-hydraulic-fracturing-f]

Parker Waichman LLP believes that preventing doctors from sharing vital information with their patients interferes with a physician’s ability to provide care. For that reason, says Parker Waichman LLP attorney, William Dubanevich, Pennsylvania lawmakers must repeal this ill-advised physician gag order immediately.

“This law clearly demonstrates the influence and control that the gas and drilling industries have in Pennsylvania government,” states Dubanevich. “The gas industry has acknowledged that over 270 chemicals are contained in hydraulic fracturing fluids and drilling fluids used in gas exploration well. Many of these chemicals are carcinogenic and toxic, have the potential for contaminating drinking water supplies and jeopardizing the safety of a health of drill rig workers and residents. The gas and drilling companies repeatedly claim that drilling and gas exploration activities are safe and not a threat to the environment or public health. If these claims are true, why has the industry expended significant resources to create a law that keeps the chemicals they use secret from the public? “

Mr. Dubanevich further discusses the potential health hazards associated with hydraulic fracturing in this video produced by Parker Waichman LLP.

Parker Waichman LLP continues to offer free legal evaluations to any one who believes their property or health has been damaged because of fracking. For more information, please visit Parker Waichman’s hydraulic fracturing page at http://www.yourlawyer.com.

For more information regarding Parker Waichman LLP, please visit: http://www.yourlawyer.com or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

Contact: Parker Waichman LLP
              Herbert Waichman
             (800) LAW-INFO
             (800) 529-4636
             http://www.yourlawyer.com

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Herb Waichman, Partner
Parker Waichman LLP
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