Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Mothers who live near fracking sites are more likely to have smaller babies, study says

Babies born to mothers who live close to gas wells used in hydraulic fracturing are 34 percent more likely to be born smaller than babies born in areas where mothers have less exposure to fracking, says a study published in PLOS One, Nicholas Bakalar reports for The New York Times. Researchers used data from 15,451 births in the southwest Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale region from 2007 to 2010.

Co-author Bruce R. Pitt, the chairman of the department of environmental and occupational health at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, wrote: “This isn’t enough to cause changes in policy. It requires more intensive research, better measurements of exposure and medical outcomes. But it is enough to prompt further research so that we know how to go forward in a way compatible with public and environmental health.”

A Marcellus Shale Coalition spokesman told Bakalar, “The researchers by their own admission rely heavily on two anti-oil and natural gas studies that have been thoroughly debunked. They admit that ‘a number of unknown factors limit the research.’” (Read more)

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