June 17, 2014 9:24 am

Health studies needed if fracking approved for Nova Scotia: Atherton

In this March 29, 2013 photo, a rig drills for natural gas which will eventually be released using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, outside Rifle, Colorado.

Brennan Linsley/The Canadian Press/AP

HALIFAX – An expert says a provincewide study is needed in Nova Scotia on the health impacts of hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas if the government approves the process.

Dr. Frank Atherton makes the recommendation in a paper released late Monday night to a review panel examining whether fracking should be permitted.

Atherton is the province’s deputy chief medical officer of health but is serving independently with the review panel.

His study says a health assessment would determine what measures are needed to counter any potential risks.

His 18-page report says more study is needed to determine the longer-term risks of respiratory problems and exposures to chemicals used in fracking.

Atherton also says companies should be required to publicly list the chemicals they use.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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