Residing near U.S. fracking wells linked to higher hospitalization rates, study finds

fracking-699657_640Apparently shale oil production in the US has a negative impact on the health of the Americans. People living in areas near hydraulic fracturing and oil drilling sites are more likely to be hospitalized for heart complications, neurological illnesses, cancer and various other conditions, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.

Hydraulic fracturing, widely known as fracking, is a form of an oil and gas extraction technique that uses a mixture of water, chemicals and sand to break apart underground rock formations. Fracking has increased dramatically in the recent years in the United States triggering a debate over whether the process causes water and air pollution.

Pennsylvania is a hotspot for fracked wells with 6,000 wells drilled into the Marcellus Shale since 2008. The research published this week in the journal PLOS ONE tallied the hospitalization rates in three north-eastern counties in Pennsylvania and found them significantly higher in areas with fracking compared to those without.

The two counties, Bradford and Susquehanna had a notable increase in fracked wells between 2007 and 2011. Fracking was not permitted in the third county – Wayne due to its closeness to the Delaware River watershed.

One of the study’s authors, Reynold Panettieri said in a press release that they suspected that residents were exposed to many toxicants, noise and social inconvenience due to hydraulic fracturing near their residences and that may be added to the increased number of hospitalizations.

The researchers found that residents who lived within 18 zip codes that had a well density of 0.79 or greater were predicted to have a 27 percent increase in hospitalizations associated with cardiovascular complaints each year as these wells were active. The study also showed higher rates of hospitalization for neurological illness, skin conditions, cancer and urological conditions associated with fracking wells, but the impact was less clear. However, Zip codes existing within Wayne County did not face a similar issue.

While the research was unable pinpoint a specific reason, it suggests there may be a link between drilling and ill health, researchers said. They further suggested that healthcare costs of hydraulic fracturing must be factored into the economic benefits of unconventional gas and oil drilling.

However, the proponents of fracking and the energy industry believe that the technology can used safely and that fears of health risks and pollution are blown out of proportion. Even though this study does not get to the bottom of the causes of the health problems, it will be seen as further evidence that suggests more research is needed to determine how certain pollutants, or combinations of pollutants associated with fracking might contribute to hospitalization rates.

Avatar
Anna Domanska
Anna Domanska is an Industry Leaders Magazine author possessing wide-range of knowledge for Business News. She is an avid reader and writer of Business and CEO Magazines and a rigorous follower of Business Leaders.

Recent Posts

Hyundai commits $7.4 billion in US investment by 2025

Hyundai commits $7.4 billion in US investment by 2025

South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co., announced on Thursday it will soon start manufacturing electric vehicles in the United States. The automaker plans to produce EVs, upgrade produc
2 days ago
US inflation report of 4.2 percent raises concerns

US inflation report of 4.2 percent raises concerns

The US reported the highest inflation recorded in the last dozen years at 4.2 percent in April, riding on government stimulus packages, improved energy prices, better spending and
2 days ago
Aon – Willis asset disposal aims to ease approval of $30 billion merger

Aon – Willis asset disposal aims to ease approval of $30 billion merger

Aon Plc and Willis Towers Watson have agreed to sell $3.6 billion worth of assets to rival Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. in a bid to appease European competition regulators over th
3 days ago
Roblox declares Q1, reports $387 million revenue as bookings increase

Roblox declares Q1, reports $387 million revenue as bookings increase

Roblox, the hugely popular online gaming platform, reported its first-quarter earnings after becoming a listed company. Its revenue more than doubled as the videogame company benef
4 days ago
Weak US job report results in volatile market

Weak US job report results in volatile market

A weak job report resulted in a record close on Friday for the US stocks. The US labor department’s monthly non-farm payrolls report revealed employers hired 266,000 new workers
5 days ago
Star and Blackstone launch bids to buyout Australia’s Crown Resorts

Star and Blackstone launch bids to buyout Australia’s Crown Resorts

A bidding war has broken out between Australian casino company Star Entertainment Group and US private equity investor Blackstone Group over Crown Resorts, Australia’s bigges
5 days ago