The researchers took the birth records for every child born in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2013—more than 1.1 million infants in total—and looked at the mother’s proximity to a fracking site, using the state of Pennsylvania’s public inventory of fracking-well locations. They found that infants born within 1 kilometer of a well were 25% more likely to have low birth weights (less than 5.5 pounds) than infants more than 3 kilometers away. Babies born within 1 kilometer of a well also showed significantly lower scores on a standard index of infant health. Infants born between 1 and 3 kilometers away were smaller and less healthy than those who lived farther away, but they weren’t as bad off as babies born closest to the wells. Click here for the study. Concerns about the health effects of fracking aren’t new. Now, a growing number of studies suggests that living near oil and gas developments is associated with a wide range of negative outcomes, from higher rates of asthma and migraines to more hospitalizations for cardiovascular disease, neurological disorders, and cancer.
Air pollution tied to risk of birth defects
Women who are exposed to air pollution may be more likely to have a baby with birth defects, new research suggests. "The most susceptible time of exposure appears to be the one month before and after conception," said study senior author Dr. Emily DeFranco, a physician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. "Public health efforts should continue to highlight the importance of minimizing population-level exposure to harmful particulate matter in the air," she added in this news release. To conduct the study, the researchers used birth certificate data from the Ohio Department of Health and particulate matter data from the EPA’s 57 monitoring stations throughout Ohio. They linked the geographic coordinates of the mother’s residence for each birth with the nearest monitoring station and calculated average exposures. They then estimated the association between abnormalities at birth and the mother’s exposure to increased levels of fine particulate matter in the air during pregnancy.
Report: Pollution costly to health and economy
Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015 - 16% of all deaths worldwide, according to this report from the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health...continue