“Expectant mothers who live near active natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry in Pennsylvania are at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely and for having high-risk pregnancies, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests. …

For his study, Schwartz and his colleagues analyzed data from Geisinger Health System, which covers 40 counties in north and central Pennsylvania. They studied the records of 9,384 mothers who gave birth to 10,946 babies between January 2009 and January 2013. They compared that data with information about wells drilled for fracking and looked at how close they were to the homes of the pregnant mothers as well as what stage of drilling the wells were in, how deep the wells were dug and how much gas was being produced at the wells during the mothers’ pregnancies. Using this information, they developed an index of how active each of the wells were and how close they were to the women.

The researchers found that living in the most active quartile of drilling and production activity was associated with a 40 percent increase in the likelihood of a woman giving birth before 37 weeks of gestation (considered pre-term) and a 30 percent increase in the chance that an obstetrician had labeled their pregnancy “high-risk,” a designation that can include factors such as elevated blood pressure or excessive weight gain during pregnancy. When looking at all of the pregnancies in the study, 11 percent of babies were born preterm, with the majority (79 percent) born between 32 and 36 weeks. ...

While the study can’t pinpoint why the pregnant women had worse outcomes near the most active wells, Schwartz says that every step of the drilling process has an environmental impact. ... “Now that we know this is happening we’d like to figure out why,” Schwartz says. “Is it air quality? Is it the stress? They’re the two leading candidates in our minds at this point.”

summary:

http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2015/study-fracking-industr...

full paper:

http://www.eenews.net/assets/2015/10/09/document_ew_01.pdf

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An article that starts out with the statement "...live near active natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry..." loses all credibility. The fracking industry does not operate natural gas wells. 

Folks at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health need to go back to school. 

"When looking at all of the pregnancies in the study, 11 percent of babies were born preterm, with the majority (79 percent) born between 32 and 36 weeks. ..."

Sounds to me like 11 of the Mom's were on meth.

Ron D.

We won't find drug use in the study. So we won't know if any of the mothers were drug addicts. They also did not include alcohol use, here's a quote from page three;

“Alcohol use was not a confounder, so was not included in adjusted models. We also did not adjust for blood pressure or the number of prenatal healthcare visits because we considered them potential mediators.”

The researchers selectively included information. Anything info that might affect their pre- set conclusion was ignored.

Finally, according to the CDC, 11% is the natural average for premature births.

Paul - It's always worth remembering that the wells are operated by the oil and gas firms, not by "the fracking industry". The service companies who pump the frac treatments often perform other services such as well logging, cementing, pipe handling and make-up, directional drilling and other services that aid in well drilling and completion. They may operate wells under contract, but in my experience they seldom have any skin in the game with regards to ownership in the leases, units and development costs.

The study seemed to have a large enough population group to draw some conclusions, and I don't doubt that being pregnant can be stressful, but it's also stressful sitting in the treatment van hoping that you have enough gelled fluid and proppant to complete the treatment before premature screen out.

Brian

While the study can’t pinpoint why the pregnant women had worse outcomes near the most active wells,


Its got to be the fracking. No other explanation allowed, the science is settled.

Its because of all the stress caused by freaked out people like Paul going around scaring the crap out of people.  I know a woman that is a huge anti. Organized a group of ;concerned citizens' holds public meetings, brings in big name antis.  No well near her but she looks like she aged about 15 yrs in the last five.

The stress these people are inflicting on others is criminal and it is taking a toll on their health.

Jim,

It's also a fatigue thing. They hope everyone will get tired of their nonsense and just give in.

Look at Youngstown - it's the fifth time for the anti fracking charter on the ballot.

I always get excited when I see that Paul posted on here. Contrary to the articles that Paul has posted, the entertainment value of the replies is never a let down.

Tyler,

Paul is the entertainment portion of this site.

John Hopkins University................LOL, enough said.

I've been waiting for this.

I saw mention of the study a while ago, i knew you wouldn't be able to resist posting about it because it's right up your alley; it's full of innuendo hyperbole, misinformation, etc.. Right out of the leftist play book.

You know what it doesn't have ? FACTS !

The researchers own data and comments contradict their "conclusions".

From the press release:

“While the study can’t pinpoint why the pregnant women had worse outcomes near the most active wells, Schwartz says that every step of the drilling process has an environmental impact.”

Note: Can't pinpoint a connection. Yet they make the claim anyway, facts be damned !

How about this FACT, Paul?

According to CDC data (nationwide) roughly one in nine babies is born prematurely (11%)

According to the study you cite, the rate for premature births for women closest to wells was at or below the national average (11%).

Another FACT:

The researchers ignored many other factor that figure into premature births. For example they ignored socio-economic factors and genetics.

According to the March of Dimes:

"Family studies suggest that genetic factors may contribute to about 40 percent of preterm births".

Your "researchers" ignored the studies and information.

Here's a tid bit; Robert Schwartz, one of the authors of this bogus study, is a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. The Institute states that it's mission, in part, is to eliminate fossil fuels altogether, and views fracking as a "virus.

I'd say he just a little biased.

Further, the study authors received funding from the Robert Woods Foundation. Three of it's board members are also on the Board of the World Wildlife Fund, a statement from that organization claims that it is against fracking to extract shale gas. Again bias.

Shall I go on ? I think not. I'll save the rest for one of your usually inadequate responses.

Until then, Have A Nice Day !

My first thought was, much of the fracking is taking place in counties which are extremely poor, and an unfortunate result of the gas "boom" (and bust--be patient, it's not really a bust) is higher rent and more difficulty for locals. Homelessness is rising, etc. All those factors have an effect on pregnancies, and it's really quite irresponsible to write articles like these. Or to post them. 

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