PSR Colorado aims to protect the public from the impacts of hydraulic fracturing and exposure to toxic chemicals by elevating the voices of health professionals. In February 2019, the group organized its first medical symposium at Colorado State University, bringing together over 200 doctors, nurses, psychologists, advocates, citizens and decision-makers to discuss the effects of the oil and gas industry.
This year's symposium will be held virtually. “The hope is that we can use this virtual platform to reach out to many, many more. We’d love to have more physicians, more nurses, more social workers, more psychologists aware of what is happening,” says PSR Colorado chairperson Dr. Cory Caroll, who has been an independent family practitioner for almost thirty years.
More people means more costs, and the fundraiser is designed to help with that. It will include an hour-long virtual concert by Cary Morin, a blues artist from Fort Collins; John Sollo, who has emceed Antiques Roadshow, will host. Although the music is free, there will be a virtual auction: PSR Colorado is selling off items worth about $10,000, says Caroll, everything from lunches with award-winning authors and politicians, to watercolor paintings, to home-repair warranties and tree-climbing courses.
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“Cary Morin is an incredibly talented individual," Caroll says, "and John Sollo will be a hoot. Hopefully, it will be a fun event where people can hear some great music and maybe look at some items that they may want to bid on."
And support a worthy cause that impacts almost everyone in the state. Even though much of the oil and gas industry is concentrated in Weld County, the toxic compounds often flow with prevailing winds, affecting populations in Longmont, Boulder, Denver and more. “The gases — once they’re in our system — can create havoc in our cellular processes. Everyone can be affected,” he notes.
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Caroll sometimes asks patients who come in with asthma problems where they experience breathing difficulties the most, and many report that their asthma improves when they leave Fort Collins. “You don’t want to tell people to move to another city, so instead we have to tell our leaders that this is affecting our population, especially folks with asthma or heart disease,” he says.
The December symposium will not only discuss the fracking process, but also provide information about health issues that affect populations across the state. Through scientific documentation, Caroll hopes that the gathering will highlight the connection between these oil and gas operations and public-health issues.
“This is something we have to pay attention to, not only from individual or community health, but from global health," Caroll concludes. "The more people that come on Sunday, the better."
Check out the online concert fundraiser at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 19, on the PSR Colorado home page.