Ex-health chief: Pennsylvania failed to address public worries over drilling health impacts

Pennsylvania's former health secretary says the state has failed to seriously study the potential health impacts of one of the nation's biggest natural gas drilling booms.

Dr. Eli Avila says the current strategy is a disservice to residents and to the industry because health officials need to be proactive in protecting the public.

Avila is now the public health commissioner for Orange County, New York. He left the Pennsylvania job in 2012 after two years.

Health Department spokeswoman Aimee Tysarczyk (tih-ZAHR'-zihk) says the agency has responded to all 51 Marcellus Shale health-related complaints it's received and has shared information with those individuals and their physicians.

The gas drilling industry says fracking is safe and there's no evidence of serious health problems from it.