Proximity to fracked shale wells affects infant birth weight, study shows

" Fracking can damage the health and development of babies whose mothers live near shale gas drilling and fracking sites, according to a new study of more than 1.1 million births in Pennsylvania from 2004 through 2013.

The study, released Wednesday, found that infants living within a half mile of a fracked shale gas well were 25 percent more likely to have low birth weight -- below 5.5 pounds -- putting them at greater risk of infant mortality, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, asthma, ...

“This study provides the strongest large-scale evidence of a link between the pollution that stems from hydraulic fracturing activities and our health, specifically the health of babies,” said Michael Greenstone, an economics professor and director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and a study co-author.

Titled “Hydraulic Fracturing and Infant Health: New Evidence from Pennsylvania,” the study also found elevated health risks for babies extending up to two miles from a shale gas well. "


The research paper, by Janet Currie, Michael Greenstone, and Katherine Meckel, is available (PDF) at .

Old-timers on gomarcellusshale may recall discussion of studies (smaller, as I recall) from several years ago that found evidence of low birth weight babies and birth defects in PA, CO, UT, and other states.

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Peer reviewed means by other members of the scientific community, independently.

This was reviewed by the editorial staff of the magazine and others in house. There was no outside review. That is not the same as a true peer review process.

Your Fake News may be able to fool the uneducated reader. But there are some of us who are well aware of your misinformation and the tricks you use when you present it.

Even the article you posted disputes your claim.

You really should read the stuff you post


This paper was not independently "peer reviewed". It was reviewed in house at the magazine. The people at that magazine are well known anti fossil fuel folks. So anything that attacks fossil fuels gets their seal of approval.

A cursory reading of the piece (even just the introduction) reveals major flaws in the methodology and info presented.

First, the authors admit that this is only the beginning, there is no conclusion that shale development is connected to low birth weight. In fact the authors admit that this is the purpose of the research, to find that connection.

That is the first major flaw, the researchers enter the process with the preconceived belief that there is a connection.

Next, the methodology is flawed. There is a lack of good sampling procedures. Of course people such as Paul point to the fact that the sampling size was large. The problem is, the sampling only took place in areas of shale development and the information was never compared with the population of the state as a whole. In other words the researchers never reviewed low birth weight statistics in areas without shale development. BTW, that info is readily available from the Dept. of Health in Pennsylvania.The reason the researchers did not include this info is, that it would have blown the whole premise of their research (my opinion).

I can go on and n listing the flaws, but I think you get the point, this study is FAKE NEWS!

Finally, you may ask why the study was published ? The answer is simple many of the folks at the magazine are anti fossil fuel.

Direct from study ;

Pennsylvania Department of Health data show that the six most heavily drilled Marcellus counties had greater infant mortality rate improvement than Pennsylvania as a whole from 2000 to 2014. This trend is even more notable, given the infant mortality rate in these six counties was higher than the overall Pennsylvania rate prior to the onset of shale development in 2000. By 2014, the infant mortality rate was lower in the six top Marcellus counties than for the state.


Infant mortality actually went down in those counties.  Thats what happens when people get good jobs with healthcare benefits.  Or get lease payments along with royalties so they can buy good health coverage. People with good jobs and/or financial stability drink less alcohol, eat better, use fewer drugs, have less stress, and are psychologically much better.  All that leads to healthier babies.

Thanks Jim.

I think I just heard Paul's head explode, fractivists hate facts it makes their heads explode.


Due to the increased use of natural gas, brought to us by hydraulic fracturing, emissions are down.

Cleaner air, healthier people, including babies.

Paul has once again been shown to be the FAKE NEWS of GMS.

Thanks to all of you that posted FACTS about this issue.

Sorry Chicken Little the Sky Isn't Falling.

But Josie, Jim Willis, the editor of Marcellus Drilling News that you quoted has a background in gas industry marketing. So it appears he has a financial interest in dismissing health concerns about fracking, the same as Energy-in-Depth.

Are you familiar with this Upton Sinclair quote?

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it".

Typical leftists tactic -

Attack the person.

Never deal with what they have said.

In this instance you and the info you posted have been completely discredited with FACTS posted by others.

Instead of addressing those FACTS you attack the people that provided them.

As I said, typical reaction of a radical leftist. Saul Alinsky would be proud of yyou.


According to your own rules you shouldn't be quoting Sinclair, he had a financial interest in the books he wrote. So the content of of the books has no value. Right?

Were the people paid, that wrote the article you cite in your post? Of course they were. According to your rules, they and their work have no value because they profited.

Upton was a socialist.


You do realize that being a socialist is a good thing and resume' enhancer to Paul?

Paul is a socialist.

"Other studies have focused on pregnancy outcomes and infant health. In one conducted in North Texas — where fracking wells abut diverse populations of urbanites — researchers found an increased risk of preterm birth, and a slight increase in fetal death, among pregnant women living close to greater concentrations of fracking wells."

source: "Babies born to moms who lived near fracking wells faced host of health risks, study suggests"

primary source: "Maternal residential proximity to unconventional gas development and perinatal outcomes among a diverse urban population in Texas" by Kristina W. Whitworth, Amanda K. Marshall, Elaine Symanski


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