Health Organizations Applaud the Maryland House of Delegates for Passing Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing in Maryland

For Immediate Release:

March 10, 2017

Contact: Tim Whitehouse, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility,


Health Organizations Applaud the Maryland House of Delegates for Passing Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing in Maryland

Health Professionals Call on Maryland Senate to Pass Companion Bill

Annapolis, MD — Concerned by the rapidly expanding evidence of harm to human health and the environment caused by fracking, the Maryland House of Delegates voted 97-40 on March 10, 2017, to ban this process used for unconventional gas development and production in Maryland.

“The House of Delegates made the right decision. Research now confirms that fracking has the potential to cause both short-term and long-term health impacts, many of which will be irreversible,” said Dr. Gina Angiola, member of the Board of Directors of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility.

“In the last two years, highly reputable research institutions have released studies showing statistically significant associations between fracking activities and an array of illnesses, including asthma, premature births, and childhood leukemia,” said Dr. Angiola.

Our neighbors in Pennsylvania and West Virginia have shared their first-hand experiences about the fracking industry and have warned us to keep fracking out of our state,” said Ann Bristow, PhD, Commissioner, Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission.  Banning fracking before it comes to Maryland rests on solid public health policy. The House of Delegates has taken a vital step by passing a ban on fracking in our state.”

"As a nurse, I commend the Maryland House of Delegates for putting the health of all Marylanders first and passing HB1325 - Prohibition of Hydraulic Fracturing," stated Katie Huffling, Executive Director of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. "They recognize that regulations in other states have not shown to protect the health of those living near by and bringing this dangerous industry to the State of Maryland is too great a risk for the health of the State's residents.”

"MdEHN applauds the Maryland House of Delegates on the decision to ban fracking. It signals to us that vital public health concerns are paramount in Annapolis. The fracking ban is an important preventive care measure that protects all Marylanders from avoidable environmental health harms near fracking sites and curbs our contribution to climate change. We are counting on the legislature to safeguard access to clean air and water across the state to improve health outcomes and quality of life,” said Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, Executive Director, Maryland Environmental Health Network.

The Maryland Nurses Association released this statement: “The Maryland Nurses Association commends the House of Delegates for passing HB1325 - Prohibition of Hydraulic Fracturing. This measure will protect the citizens of Maryland from air, water, and land contamination associated with 'fracking'.  We would like to thank our delegates for their favorable vote on this important health issue, and strongly support a full hearing of the companion bill in the Senate.”

For these reasons, more than 220 health professionals signed a letter to the Governor and the leadership of the Maryland General Assembly, calling for a ban on fracking. That letter can be found here.


Chesapeake PSR issued a Health and Energy Brief: The Health Effects of Fracking, outlining the adverse health impacts of allowing fracking in Maryland. The majority of hundreds of studies now link unconventional gas development and production, enabled by hydraulic fracturing or fracking, to asthma, premature births and low birth weights, increased hospitalizations, migraines and more. Also read their second issue paper, Fracking Regulations Cannot Protect Maryland.


Chesapeake PSR just issued its Health and Energy Brief: Fracking Regulations Cannot Protect Maryland on why regulations on unconventional gas development and production, commonly referred to as "fracking," cannot protect Maryland residents from fracking's environmental and health harms. A ban on fracking in Maryland is the only rational option. Please also read their first paper, The Health Effects of Fracking.


Maryland health professionals submitted a letter to Maryland legislative leaders urging the Maryland General Assembly to pass a ban on fracking in Maryland. More than 150 doctors, nurses, researchers and other health professionals stated their concerns about the significant health and environmental harms of allowing fracking to begin in the state. "We in the health community reject the industry’s push for short-term profits at the expense of long-term damage to public health and the environment," the letter stated.  

Read the full letter here.

Unconventional gas development and production (UGDP) enabled by high-volume hydraulic fracturing (widely known by the shorthand term, "fracking") currently is not allowed in Maryland because a moratorium passed in 2015. The moratorium expires next year and permits may be issued in October 2017 unless the Maryland General Assembly passes a ban in the next legislative session that begins in January.

"No regulatory framework can adequately protect either the environment or the health and safety of Maryland residents. As health professionals committed to preventing illness and promoting healthy communities, we call for a ban on unconventional gas development in Maryland," the letter stated. Read why Maryland fracking regulations cannot protect us.

Read the press release here.

• • •


Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) and Concerned Health Professionals of New York (CHPNY) released their fourth edition compendium on fracking on Nov. 17, 2016, with peer-reviewed studies, medical papers and media investigations on the health and environmental harms linked to fracking and its infrastructure.

Press Release: Risk of Asthma Attacks Significantly Higher Among Patients Living Near Drilling and Fracking Operations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                            Contact: Katie Huffling, RN, MS, CNM

                                                                                                                                                 (240) 753-3729,


Risk of Asthma Attacks Significantly Higher Among Patients Living Near Drilling and Fracking Operations

A new study by Johns Hopkins University researchers links fracking operations in Pennsylvania to increases in asthma attacks 

Baltimore, MD – Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine linking asthma attacks and proximity to drilling and fracking operations.

The analysis included more than 35,000 asthma patients ranging in age from five to ninety years old who live in the heavily fracked state of Pennsylvania. The study found that asthma attacks were 1.5-4 times more likely among asthma patients living closer to drilling and fracking operations than among asthma patients living farther away.

This study was published on the same day public comments were due on recently released issue papers from the Maryland Department of the Environment as they prepared to release regulations for fracking in Maryland. Evidence of the adverse health outcomes continue to mount where fracking is occurring.

“Asthma has an enormous impact on the quality of life of the over 24 million people in the United States with this disease. The total cost of treating asthma in the United States is over $60 billion annually and over $1 billion annually in Maryland, not including lost pay from missed work and school days,” said Lois Wessel, a family nurse practitioner with the Mid-Atlantic Center on Children’s Health and the Environment. “Healthcare providers continue to look at ways to decrease the impacts of asthma on our society. As this study highlights, continuing to keep fracking out of Maryland should be part of the public health agenda to reduce asthma’s toll in our communities.”

With only one legislative session left before the moratorium expires in Maryland, legislators must prevent fracking from beginning in our state. No regulatory framework has been shown to adequately protect public health.

• • •

Concerned Health Professionals of Maryland is a project of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility (Chesapeake PSR), with the support of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and the Maryland Environmental Health Network and other health professionals concerned about the health impacts of fracking.

Available for interview: Katie Huffling, RN, MS, CNM, Director of Programs, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

(240) 753-3729,


Johns Hopkins released a study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, on associations between asthma exacerbations and unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania. The study evaluated health impacts of four stages of UNGD, including pad preparation, drilling, stimulation [hydraulic fracturing or "fracking"] and production, on 35,508 asthma patients. The study concluded UNGD operations "were statistically associated with increased risk of mild, moderate, and severe asthma exacerbations."

Read More

Toward an Understanding of the Environmental and Public Health Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Development: A Categorical Assessment of the Peer-Reviewed Scientific Literature, 2009-2015

This is a comprehensive review of the peer-reviewed research on the health and environmental impacts of unconventional gas development. At least 685 papers now have been published in scientific journals. Over 80 percent of these papers were published in just the last three years. Of this body of research, 31 are original research on public health hazards, risks and health outcomes, with 84 percent showing significant risks or adverse outcomes.