In the past, studies have shown that fracking causes air pollution that can hurt babies, and premature birth has been linked to living near fracking sites. Now, a new study found that babies born near fracking sites are more likely to have low birth weights. In fact, children born near fracking sites are 25 percent more likely to be underweight at birth, The Verge reported.
The study analyzed the records of more than 1.1 million births in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2013, and results were just published in Science Advances, an open access scientific journal. The study looked at infants born to mothers living at different distances away from active fracking sites, and babies born before and after fracking started at each site. The abstract of the study found “evidence for negative health effects of in utero exposure to fracking sites within 3 [kilometers] of a mother’s residence.” But the most alarming effects were seen in babies born to moms living within 1 kilometer of fracking sites.
Science Advances summed up the abstract with a very concerning statistic about births in the United States, which read:
As a refresher: fracking is a process that involves “drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside,” according to the BBC. The term fracking, specifically, is in reference to how the rock is fractured by the high pressure mixture, and it’s short for hydraulic fracturing.
But fracking is controversial for health and environmental reasons. Fracking uses a ton of water, which has to be transported to the fracking site “at significant environmental cost,” the…