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Reader: Why would expose ourselves to dangerous fracking chemicals? 

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Fracking releases volatile toxic compounds at every stage of drilling. All of these are deleterious and one of these, benzene, is carcinogenic. The EPA has stated that benzene is linked to cancer; the World Health Organization has stated that there is no safe exposure level for benzene. It is well known to cause acute myeloid leukemia and is statistically associated with other cancers of the bone marrow — acute and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This has been known since the 1960s from studies on oil and gas workers and other populations exposed to benzene vapor.

The Colorado School of Public Health in 2012 showed that persons living less than a half-mile (2,680 feet) from a fracking site were at greater risk for neurological and respiratory diseases and congenital birth defects in babies than persons living farther away. These cancer and other risks increase with time of exposure. Children are at higher risk since they grow and develop over years near fracking wells. All of this has been well documented in the scientific and medical literature.

A drilling setback of 2,500 feet from homes, schools and businesses is a very sensible measure. As a physician, I believe Proposition 112 is good preventive medicine, good public health, good pediatric health, and in the best interest of all Coloradans. Why would we knowingly expose ourselves and our children to a proven carcinogen?

— J. Joseph Marr, M.D.

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