Fracking is Bad for Babies

Pullout quoteAs I wander around the Internet finding out what I can about oil and gas drilling, I run into an increasing amount of academic research that links fracking to a variety of health and environmental issues. As an example, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about how fracking raises the risk of reproductive, metabolic, neurological and other diseases among children who are exposed to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals used in fracking.

No matter how this list accumulates, there is a constant refrain from pro-frackers: “There is no proven link between fracking and health issues.”

Unless you look.

In a study presented today at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia, the researchers — Janet Currie of Princeton University, Katherine Meckel of Columbia University, and John Deutch and Michael Greenstone of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — looked at Pennsylvania birth records from 2004 to 2011 to assess the health of infants born within a 2.5-kilometer radius of natural-gas fracking sites. They found that proximity to fracking increased the likelihood of low birth weight by more than half, from about 5.6 percent to more than 9 percent. The chances of a low Apgar score, a summary measure of the health of newborn children, roughly doubled, to more than 5 percent.

The study corroborates similar results from a 2012 study by Elaine Hill, a PhD student at Cornell University.

The study did not conclude why the relationship exists between fracking and the health of newborns. According to the authors, it does not appear that water is the culprit.– results were the same for babies who drank from monitored public water supplies and private wells.

When the drill at any cost folks say, “This is the price we have to pay for economic growth,” is this really what they mean?

The study has yet to be peer reviewed or published on the Internet, but you can read more about it in a piece by Mark Whitehouse at Bloomberg.

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
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3 Responses to Fracking is Bad for Babies

  1. Pingback: More on fetal health issues, railroad safety | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  2. Pingback: Important new study shows link between fracking chemicals and reproductive and developmental toxicity | Preserve the Beartooth Front

  3. Pingback: Scientists examine over 1,000 chemicals from fracking fluids: many linked to reproductive or development toxicity

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