Most people opposed to fracking (the process of drilling down into the earth as a method of mining natural gas) cite environmental or geopolitical reasons, but a new study is offering a compelling medical argument that’s hard to ignore:  Pregnant women who live where fracking is widely conducted were found to be 40 percent more likely to give birth prematurely than those who were not exposed to it.

On top of that, mothers exposed to fracking were also 30 percent more likely to have high-risk pregnancies, experiencing complications such as high blood pressure and excessive weight gain.

The study, consisting of more than 10,000 women in Pennsylvania (where there are more than 8,000 natural gas wells, according to Johns Hopkins University), controlled for environmental, behavioral and socioeconomic factors, according to The New York Times.

Although the study made no attempt to identify what elements of fracking are so dangerous to babies and mothers-to-be, its authors hope it draws more scrutiny to the practice from a public-health perspective.  

 

Sources:

  1. The New York Times: Fracking Tied to Premature Births
  2. Johns Hopkins University: study links fracking to premature births, high-risk pregnancies