Study results show that children living near fracking sites are at higher risk of leukemia


Pennsylvania children who grew up near oil and gas fracking sites are at higher risk of developing leukemia, a study published Wednesday in Environmental Health Perspectives found.

The study’s findings are consistent with a wealth of research on health risks associated with fracking. Yale researchers, using data from the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry, found that children between the ages of 2 and 7 who lived near (within 2 km or 1.25 miles) of a fracking facility had more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Children of pregnant women who lived near fracking sites are three times more at risk.

Despite a relatively high survival rate, acute lymphoblastic leukemia often leads to additional problems later in life, including cognitive disabilities and heart disease. Two kilometers is a little over 6,500 feet, but Pennsylvania law requires only 500 feet between fracking wells and homes. Colorado only requires 150 feet.

As reported by DeSmog:

“This new study ties many dots together,” biologist Sandra Steingraber, co-founder of Concerned Health Professionals of New York, who was not involved with the study, told DeSmog. “As such, this study is sort of startling, voila,” Steingraber said, adding that the methodology in the study was “really robust.”

For years, the Concerned Health Professionals of New York have compiled and published a compendium of scientific and medical evidence on the impact of fracking on human health.

“These results from this case-control study reinforce and add to a rapidly growing body of evidence — now documented in more than 100 studies — showing that fracking is a public health crisis,” Steingraber said. “Taken together, these studies, new and old, tell us that fracking in Pennsylvania is not safe for Pennsylvanians — even those who live a mile or more away. In fact, it is a moral obscenity.”

For a deeper dive:

The Guardian, Inside Climate News, NPR State Impact, DeSmog, The Independent, The Hill

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