Study Examines Possible Link between Infant Health Problems and Fracking

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Study Examines Possible Link between Infant Health Problems and FrackingA preliminary study on the effects of fracking on babies born near oil and gas wells has discovered possible health risks, though government and energy industry officials and the study researchers acknowledged that more research is required before any solid conclusions can be made.

Despite this, any known hazards may cast doubts on fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, which is a process that involves blasting sand, water and chemicals into underground rocks to fracture them and release the trapped fuel, noted Bloomberg News.

“It’s not really well understood how the environment interacts with genetics to produce these birth defects,” noted Lisa McKenzie of the Colorado School of Public Health, who lead the research published in January in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. “We really need to do more study to see what the association is, if any, with natural gas development.”

McKenzie and her fellow researchers found that infants who were born to mothers who resided near gas wells in Colorado had more congenital heart defects. Two research studies, which are yet to be peer reviewed, found that babies born close to hydraulic fracturing sites in Pennsylvania had higher chances of having developmental problems and low birth weight.

The second study, which is being conducted by Utah authorities, is probing a possible link between the rising number of stillbirths and huge levels of air pollution by the energy industry.

McKenzie’s study discovered that babies whose mothers lived near 125 wells per mile of their residential areas were 30 percent more likely to have congenital heart defects than infants born to mothers who lived in areas with no oil and gas wells within 10 miles. However, McKenzie issued a disclaimer, saying the abnormalities may be due to other reasons such as genes and other environmental factors other than drilling activities.To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com