Investigation 4

September 25, 2016

SMC B206

Mr. Caswell

Investigation 4

          It has been suggested that fracking is linked to issues regarding pregnancy and

childbirth. For example, the University of Pittsburgh’s study about this topic revealed that

the closer a pregnant woman lived closer to shale gas wells, the less weight her baby had.

Pennsylvania went from having to abound 100 gas wells in 2006 to about 8,000 of them in

2015, but even by then, few studies had been done as to how exactly fracking could affect

one’s health. With all of this under consideration, it’s speculated that the bad water and

air quality along with the disturbances, such as noise, produced by the drilling process is

how fracking may be linked to these issues.

          According to John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, their study found that

pregnant women living near active fracking areas were 40% more likely to give birth ahead

of time than those who didn’t. Though I’m not saying that fracking should be gotten rid of

altogether, it’s still important to know when to draw the line as to not harm lives which

could otherwise be helped. In this case, it’s probably for the best if either pregnant women

live as far away from fracking areas or fracking could be done as far away from populated

areas as possible, perhaps both.

          In another study, by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, it

showed that fracking wasn’t responsible for infants’ birth defects, as they didn’t see a

pattern connecting the two concepts. Gilbert Ross, a doctor and senior director at the

American Council on Science and Health, believes that fracking couldn’t possibly have an

effect on pregnancies. He basically says that the practice occurs too deep below the surface

to affect pregnant mothers and that the Environmental Protection Agency finds no

evidence of the link between fracking and contaminated water.

           In talking about yet another study, by the University of Colorado, it was commented

on by a chief medical officer named Larry Wolk whom gave a caution that people should

not be quick to make judgments concerning fracking. He went as far to say that the study

shouldn’t be relied on, as factors other than fracking were ignored. Brown University

epidemiologist David Savitz, whom co-authored the study, agreed that while it’s not

conclusive and it could better demonstrate the link, he stood behind its findings. He says

that any legitimate questions they get should be framed more clearly.


The Allegheny Front. (2015, June 3). Study Finds Babies Near Fracking Sites Had Lower Birth Weight. Retrieved from

Haubert, J. (2014, May 7). Latest CDHPE Study Finds No Link Between Fracking and Birth Defects. Retrieved from

Hub staff (2015, October 12). Johns Hopkins study links fracking to premature births, high-risk pregnancies. Retrieved from

Orr, I. (2015, November 16). Study of Premature Births Fails to Show Fracking Connection. Retrieved from

By Rocky Mountain PBS I-News and Jones, K. (2014, February 10). Colo. Health Dept. Disputes Study Linking Birth Defects To Fracking.

Schwartz, B. (2015, September 30). Expectant Mothers Near Fracking Wells Risk Adverse Birth Outcomes. Retrieved from

Staff. (2015, October 13). Premature Birth and Problem Pregnancies Near Fracking Wells. Retrieved from

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