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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What are the other risk factors involved with these women?  Such as drugs and alcohol, what is their diet and such.  Many things can effect this.  You always seem to be blaming it all on fracking and drilling.  

Josie: if you want to have a lengthy discussion of polar bears, start a new thread, perhaps outside gomarcellusshale. The main topic of this thread is health problems and proximity to gas operations.

Relevant to the main topic, another research study found "evidence that [unconventional natural gas development] is associated with nasal and sinus, migraine headache, and fatigue symptoms in a general population representative sample". In a population of 8,000 people in Pennsylvania surveyed in 2014, those living close to gas wells showed increased sinus, migraine headache, and fatigue symptoms relative to those living far from wells.

primary source: "Associations between Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Nasal and Sinus, Migraine Headache, and Fatigue Symptoms in Pennsylvania" by Aaron W. Tustin, Annemarie G. Hirsch, Sara G. Rasmussen, Joan A. Casey, Karen Bandeen-Roche, and Brian S. Schwartz of Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and other institutions.


The key word here is association.

There is no connection.

As I have stated before, there is an association between leaves on a tree shaking when the wind blows, are we to assume that the shaking leaves cause the wind?

It's sad that anyone ever allowed you inside a classroom.


Your posts with actual facts are great.

But you are wasting your time on Paul, he doesn't believe in facts.

Just look at the premise of his post - fracking/ shale development causes low birth wieght.

It's a lie, and he didn't have the decency to provide facts to back up his claim.

In fact the the research he cites does make the claim.

Fractivists, such as Paul, hate facts, facts make their heads explode.

Paul is the Fake News of GMS!

Bitcoin is off-topic. Take it that discussion elsewhere.

Returning to the subject of newborn health near gas wells:

Recall the results of a study of 125,000 births in Colorado between 1996 and 2009: “What we found was mothers with the most [oil or gas] wells around their homes, and closest to their homes, had a 30 percent higher chance of having congenital heart defects than mothers with no wells around their homes”.

primary source:

Denver Post wrote in 2014:

"The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has been investigating a higher-than-normal number of fetal problems reported to the state in March by Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.

Neither the state nor the hospital will say until the investigation is complete how many cases of what the state is terming “pre-birth” problems were documented or what kind of anomalies were observed in the fetuses. They won’t say if they all involved miscarriages. They also are not speculating on possible causes.

But others are.

A Colorado study released this year pointed to the possibility that mothers living near oil and gas developments have an increased risk of having babies with some specific defects. Other studies around the country have linked some of the chemicals involved in drilling — but also released in vehicle exhaust and other industrial operations — to fetal problems and birth defects."


This has all been debunked before.

Why do you continue to post false information? Your posts are on the edge of outright L..s.

Of Course the Colorado Dept. of Public Health looked into the issue, it's part of it's responsibility.

The important point is the results of it's findings:

"Dr. Larry Wolk, Chief Medical Officer and Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), has just weighed in on the latest study by Lisa McKenzie. Here’s what he had to say:

We support studies that evaluate the potential impact of environmental contaminants on public health, and certainly, Benzene exposure has been proven to increase risk of certain types of cancers, including leukemia. However, this study’s conclusions are misleading in that the study questions a possible association between oil and gas operations and childhood leukemia; it does not prove or establish such a connection. The lack of a conclusive association is as a result of many limitations:

1) The study design relies on administrative data and does not take individual exposures to other potential cancer-causing substances into account.

2) The study compared leukemia cases to other cancer cases, rather than comparison to healthy people which makes findings more difficult to interpret.

3) The findings are driven by only 16 cases which significantly limits the strength of the finding.

4) The study did not adequately address additional or alternate explanations for findings, specifically differences in population demographics, smoking history and exposure to other environmental factors such as agricultural chemicals and traffic emissions.

5) The study did not account for resident mobility or full-address history during exposure time period – which could be as high as 66 percent based on previous studies.

As with all chemicals the critical factors are the exposure concentration and the length of time exposed. This is one of the main reasons CDPHE has been studying air quality in oil and gas basins for many years. CDPHE’s analysis of air quality data in high oil and gas areas of Colorado spanning the last six years and encompassing more than 10,000 individual samples indicate benzene exposures are within EPA’s generally acceptable cancer risk range and are similar to those of Denver. Exposure to benzene is among the reasons oil and gas emissions regulations were strengthened in 2014 making Colorado’s the most stringent regulations in the country. (emphasis added)


Notice two things here about the study which you cite - the word possibility (not a direct connection).

Also note, other possible threats to fetal health - vehicle exhaust and industrial operations.

Bottom line - no proven connection to oil and gas operations, just conjecture.

Paul, when will you start using facts? You should be ashamed of yourself, but as we know, fractivists lack self respect.

The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is Falling!

We've tried that before

It's better to refute his misinformation in order that others will know the truth.


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