Fracking and health
connections are well
Editor, The News:
This is a response to an article entitled “Fracking worries ignited calls for moratorium” in the June 20, 2019, issue of the New Castle News. In the article, the PA Health Secretary, Rachael Levin, reported that there is not enough evidence to connect fracking with increased sickness after examining 20 fracking and health articles.
The results of three recent rigorous scientific studies were not reported. Titles of the three studies that were ignored were: 1) “Unconventional gas and oil drilling is associated with increased hospitalization rates;” 2) “Hydraulic fracturing and infant health, New evidence from Pennsylvania,” and 3) “Association between unconventional natural gas development in the Marcellus shale and asthma exacerbations.”
Findings indicated a significant correlation between drilling and a wide range of illnesses requiring hospitalization; for example cardiac problems were 27 percent higher.
Asthma hospitalizations were 4 times as frequent as in no fracking zones. And underweight births were 25 percent more frequent when proximity and density of wells were examined.
These three definitive studies analyzed literally thousands of hospital records of illnesses related to fracking. The studies used extensive controls for extraneous variables, and even included experimental elements such as pre-drilling vs. post-drilling tests, and comparable counties where drilling and no drilling occurred. Also proximity and density of wells were carefully measured.
These three works were done by major universities and health centers and were published by prestigious journals such as the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The Health Secretary was not beholden to science. We will need gas and oil for a long time to come but drilling does not belong anywhere around people.