Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Johns Hopkins study correlates fracking to asthma

Living close to natural-gas wells using hydraulic fracturing is associated with asthma attacks, says a study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers found that people who live near bigger or larger numbers of wells are one and a half to four times more likely to have asthma attacks than people who live farther away. (Johns Hopkins map)

The study, which used data from 2005 through 2012 in 40 Pennsylvania counties, identified 35,000 asthma patients between the ages of five and 90 years, logging 20,749 mild attacks (requiring a corticosteroid prescription), 1,870 moderate ones (requiring an emergency room visit) and 4,782 severe attacks (requiring hospitalization).

Researchers were unable to identify why asthma attacks increased near natural gas wells, but said "air pollution and increased stress levels from the noise, traffic and other community impacts associated with the industry could play a role. In previous research, stress has been implicated in substantially increasing the risk of asthma attacks." (Read more)

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