A group of doctors, nurses and other health professionals from British Columbia are backing the Wet'suet'en and calling on premier Horgan to stop the fracking underway in the northeast.
We are alarmed and concerned by events unfolding in northern British Columbia. Once again we have watched as RCMP officers armed with automatic weapons and equipped with dogs, drones, helicopters, and sound cannon and with the overwatch of RCMP snipers dismantled three peaceful Wet’suwet’en checkpoints.
These blockades arose from the incursion of a fracking natural gas pipeline backed by Dutch, Chinese, Korean, Malaysian and Japanese multinationals into traditional Wet’suwet’en territories, without permission from the Wet’suwet’en leadership and over their strenuous objection.
The health risks from fracking are well known, including release of carcinogenic toxins such as benzene. Pregnant women in northeastern B.C. have serum benzene levels three times the normal level and studies have shown this has an association with increased childhood leukemia rates. U.S. studies have shown increases in congenital heart disease, chronic pulmonary disorders and small birth-weight babies in populations living in proximity to fracking operations. And as we all know, every pipeline leaks.
...The health risks presented by climate change should terrify everyone.
The American Journal of Public Health has pointed out that Indigenous groups are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, “warming temperatures have the potential to affect infectious diseases associated with the preparation of traditional foods (e.g. gastroenteritis, food-borne botulism), zoonotic diseases (e.g giardiasis) and traditional plants or remedies.” In addition, “high-intensity rainfall events could be particularly problematic, with waterborne disease outbreaks (e.g. typhoid, bacillary dysentery, Escherichia coli and cryptosporidiosis)”, not to mention the direct and indirect effects of wildfire outbreaks we have already seen in B.C.