Friday, 9 October 2015

Premature births are more likely around gas wells

"Expectant mothers who live near active natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry in Pennsylvania are at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely and for having high-risk pregnancies, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests."

"The findings, published online last week in the journal Epidemiology, shed light on some of the possible adverse health outcomes associated with the fracking industry, which has been booming in the decade since the first wells were drilled. Health officials have been concerned about the effect of this type of drilling on air and water quality, as well as the stress of living near a well where just developing the site of the well can require 1,000 truck trips on once-quiet roads."

"`The growth in the fracking industry has gotten way out ahead of our ability to assess what the environmental and, just as importantly, public health impacts are,` says study leader Brian S. Schwartz, MD, a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School. `More than 8,000 unconventional gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania alone and we’re allowing this while knowing almost nothing about what it can do to health. Our research adds evidence to the very few studies that have been done in showing adverse health outcomes associated with the fracking industry.`"...

"Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in Pennsylvania, USA" was written by Joan A. Casey, David A. Savitz, Sara G. Rasmussen, Elizabeth L. Ogburn, Jonathan Pollak, Dione G. Mercer and Brian S. Schwartz.The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (ES023675-01, ES071541), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Heath & Society Scholars Program and the National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship.

Thanks to pressure from anti-frackers, there is now a moratorium in place on underground coal gasification. But test drilling is to go ahead in Scotland which is not a good sign. Does this mean the moratorium will be lifted once safely past the next Holyrood election?
TEST drilling for unconventional coal and gas has been given the go-ahead as part of an 18-month process to determine whether industrial-scale fracking should be allowed in Scotland. [This is part of the fracking process and means all systems will be in place for a quick decision.]
A detailed research programme into the potential benefits and possible risks of unconventional fossil fuel extraction will be carried out between now and next summer, ministers announced, pushing a decision on the controversial technology back until after the election. [Who`s doing the research other than Cluff  and Ineos ?]
"A campaign group is to launch a protest in the middle of the Forth Road Bridge this weekend against plans to allow coal to be burned underneath the Firth of Forth."
"Our Forth plans to hold a demonstration on Sunday at 2pm which will see hundreds of people link hands along the Forth Road Bridge. The protest is calling on the Scottish Government to extend its freeze on fracking to cover offshore underground coal gasification (UCG)."

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