A new study released by Yale University is claiming that people living closer to natural gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania are more than twice as likely to report respiratory illnesses and skin problems than people living further away from the area.
The study, conducted by Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, got the results by randomly surveying nearly 500 people in Washington County, Pennsylvania where the Marcellus Shale is located.
Dr. Rabinowitz found that 39 percent of people living about a half mile from a gas well reported upper-respiratory problems like sinus infections and nosebleeds, compared to 18 percent of people living more than 1 mile away. Additionally, about 13 percent of those living near the wells reported skin rashes; only 3 percent who lived further away reported similar skin problems.
Despite these findings, the study is careful to not directly blame the health problems on fracking – it simply notes that there are higher rates of illness in households near the gas wells.
An additional study conducted by scientists at the University of Texas revealed that water wells near Texas fracking sites contained higher-than-normal levels or arsenic. The researchers did note that their findings were not necessarily conclusive. Both studies do mention that more research needs to be done on the health impacts of fracking.
It has been estimated that more than 1,000 wells in Louisiana have been fracked, specifically in the Haynesville Shale near Shreveport and Mansfield. Thousands more wells have also been fracked in Texas.
The environmental damage lawyers at Simien & Simien understand just how deadly fracking can be. If you or someone you love has been negatively affected by fracking in your area, we can help. If your property has been damaged or your health was put at risk due to hydraulic fracking, you deserve to be compensated.