A new study has found that people living in close proximity to a fracked natural gas well are twice as likely to suffer upper-respiratory or skin problems.
The study, published by Environmental Health Perspectives, found that 39% of people living less than a kilometer from a well in Washington County, Pennsylvania, which is part of the Marcellus Shale, reported upper respiratory problems, compared to 18% of people living 2km or further from a well.
Some 13% of people living a kilometer or less from a natural gas well reported rashes and other skin problems, while 3% living 2km or further reported similar problems.
The study was led by researchers at Yale University and surveyed 492 people in 180 households with ground-fed water wells. The authors concluded:
While these results should be viewed as hypothesis generating, and the population studied was limited to households with a ground fed water supply, proximity of natural gas wells may be associated with the prevalence of health symptoms including dermal and respiratory conditions in residents living near natural gas extraction activities. Further study of these associations, including the role of specific air and water exposures, is warranted.