Is Fracking Safe?

Fracking Safety
Fracking Safety

The controversy over fracking safety continues as two new studies make news this week.

Related: EPA Finds Little Risk to Water Supply

It's very difficult for the average person to know what's true when it comes to the safety of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). It often feels like we are being manipulated as special interest groups on all sides of the argument use facts, figures and dog-and-pony shows to try and sway us to their way of thinking. This leaves people like you and me with the task of slugging through the data in order to make an informed decision.

And it's not easy.

A quick Google search for fracking safety returns hundreds of articles and opinion pieces, each citing their own research to defend their position. This week, two new studies have been added to the equation.

Epidemiology recently published results from a John Hopkins study on the possible adverse health outcomes associated with fracking. Researchers looked at nearly 11,000 births in Pennsylvania and found that expectant mothers were 40 percent more likely to give birth prematurely if they lived in the most active areas of fracking drilling and production.  These women were also 30 percent more likely to have a high risk pregnancy that can include high blood pressure or excessive weight gain.

Our research adds evidence to the very few studies that have been done showing adverse health outcomes associated with the fracking industry.
— Brian S. Schwartz, Professor at the Bloomberg School. "

Another study from Yale researcher that measured well water near fracked wells concludes that 'there was no evidence of association with deeper brines or long-range migration of these compounds to the shallow aquifers'.

In June, the EPA released its own study that saying there are certain fracking activities that have the potential to impact drinking water resources but found no evidence that these activities have led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water in the United States.

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