Are Pennsylvania Citizens in Danger from Fracking?

A recent article examined the negative health effects on pregnant women associated with fracking (aka hydraulic fracturing) in Pennsylvania. Fracking has been linked to headaches, high blood pressure, neurological illness, asthma, anemia, heart attacks, cancer, and infant mortality.

What is Fracking (or Hydraulic Fracturing)?

Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth and releasing a high-pressure water mixture to
release gas inside of rocks. The mixture contains chemicals, water, and sand and can cause health and environmental issues, particularly when it comes time to dispose of the chemicals.

The Pennsylvania Study

As detailed in the recently released study, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have now found that expectant mothers living near fracking sites in Pennsylvania have a higher risk of giving birth prematurely and/or experiencing a high-risk pregnancy. Specifically, the study looked at health records of close to 9,400 mothers living in Pennsylvania and their link to approximately 11,000 neonates (newborns/babies less than four weeks old) from 2009 to 2013. They found that pregnant women living in the most active fracking locations were 40% more likely to give birth prematurely (less than 37 weeks along) and 30% more likely to have a high-risk pregnancy, including excessive weight gain and/or high blood pressure.

Should We Worry?

This should be of concern to citizens in Pennsylvania because it is one of the most heavily fracked states and the development has been rapid, with over 4,000 producing wells added in the last two years. As some have noted, the industry is moving more quickly than our ability to assess the threats associated with fracking. The research that has been done has shown that there are adverse public health impacts associated with fracking, even if the “why” has not yet been figured out.

Specifically, many of the studies (particularly those done by the EPA) have indicated that fracking can contaminate local water supplies. There is also obviously increased noise, traffic, and poor air quality, all of which can have impacts on a pregnancy. In some towns, the process has contaminated local water wells, caused sickness, and decreased local property values.

Lawsuits from surface owners against fracking companies in Pennsylvania have included allegations such as trespass, nuisance, negligence, negligence per se, fraud, misrepresentation, breach of settlement agreement, and violations of both the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas and Hazardous Sites Cleanup Acts. Residents have complained of fracking companies negligently releasing methane, natural gas, and other toxins onto the land and into the groundwater

Philadelphia Attorneys Solnick & Associates

If you have been injured, including injuries related to fracking, the experienced attorneys at Solnick & Associates LLC can help. Contact us today for a free consultation. We look forward to discussing your case.