Taylor Carroll: Proximity to Fracking Wells and Health Problems

This research indicates that residents living in closer proximity to fracking sites are more likely to get sick. One group of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania focused their study on fracking sites in Pennsylvania. They found that increased hospitalization rates related to heart problems and neurological disorders can be linked to fracking. They believe that those living near fracking wells are at an increased risk of hospitalization. The researchers compared hospitalization rates between Bradford and Susquehanna County to Wayne County. Fracking is increasing in Bradford and Susquehanna but is prohibited in Wayne. Residents of Bradford and Susquehanna are 27% more likely to be hospitalized for heart problems than those living in Wayne, according to this study. The researchers are unable to explain exactly why this is occurring. They believe that the toxicants, noise and social stressors that individuals living near fracking sites are exposed to may contribute to increased hospitalization rates. For a definite link between the two to be confirmed further research is required. (Acre 2015)

Another study by scientists from Yale University looked at higher rates of skin and respiratory problems in residents living near fracking sites. This study focused on Washington County, Pennsylvania. It found that those living within a kilometer of a fracking well were four times more likely to have symptoms compared to those living over two kilometers away. Respiratory symptoms included coughing, itchy eyes, and nosebleeds, and skin problems included rashes, itching, and burning. The study found an association rather than causation. An association means that there is a relationship between two variables and causation means that a change in one variable directly results in a change in the other variable. To establish a direct link between the two, more in- depth studies are required. (Stannard 2014)