One issue that continuously arises when evaluating fracking and human health is the lack of strong, definitive evidence supporting a direct link. Current research has only been able to find an association between fracking and human health. Research concerning this subject is relatively new and many studies are emerging. It can also be difficult to study health effects because fracking is a relatively new industry and long-term health effects may take more years to evaluate and reach conclusions. This makes it difficult to say with certainty that fracking poses a threat to the health of citizens (Sharpe 2012).
Industry further complicates the issue. People living near fracking wells often take fracking companies to court over health problems that they believe are caused by fracking operations. If they win the case against the fracking company, they often sign a non-disclosure agreement, preventing them from speaking out about their health issues. This keeps them out of the conversation, preventing them from sharing their story and speaking out about the issue. People living near fracking wells often live in less affluent areas, which leaves them with fewer resources to fight industry. Industry produces its own research to counter research supporting a fracking ban. This research claims that fracking is done in a safe way and does not harm public health (Sharpe 2012).
Compelling research regarding fracking and human health effects is beginning to emerge. With many citizens and researchers claiming that there is a link between the two, it is easy to understand why many individuals and groups support a ban on fracking. It is important when reading and evaluating research that people keep in mind who is supporting and funding this research. Many groups and organizations have ulterior motives: industry may fund research that supports fracking and environmental advocacy groups may fund research supporting a ban on fracking. With such a controversial, new issue there is a need for more unbiased research.