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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Study finds those living near shale wells more likely to be hospitalized

'This study represents one of the most comprehensive to date to link health effects with hydraulic fracturing.'' [...]  "...the hospitalization increases observed over the relatively short time span of observation suggests that healthcare costs of hydraulic fracturing must be factored into the economic benefits of unconventional gas and oil drilling."

     A drilling rig at a shale well site targeting natural gas near Zelienople, north of Pittsburgh 

''People living near "unconventional gas and oil drilling" operations were more likely to be hospitalized for heart, nervous system, and other medical conditions than those who were not in proximity to those sites, a new study published Wednesday has found. It's the latest—and most comprehensive—indication that hydraulic fracturing, the controversial shale gas drilling method also known as fracking, and all the "noise, the trucks, the drilling, the flaring, the anxiety" it brings may have impact on residents in nearby areas, the study, titled Unconventional Gas and Oil Drilling Is Associated with Increased Hospital Utilization Rates, found—and the consequences hit more than their health. The impacts of fracking "all can impart an aberrant stress response on the body that could make people more susceptible," to health problems, and with "an inpatient stay costing on average [$30,000], this poses a significant economic health burden to the [commonwealth]," states the study, conducted by researchers with the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University."

"Dr. Panettieri said the most profound finding was the rate of cardiovascular hospitalizations: ZIP codes that went from having no wells to the highest density of wells in the study area would be expected to have a 27 percent increase in cardiology hospitalization rates.''