Current Epidemiology Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 38–45 | Cite as

A Review of the Human Health Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Development

Environmental Epidemiology (J Braun, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Environmental Epidemiology


Purpose of Review

This review summarizes the recent epidemiologic literature examining health outcomes in communities living close to unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) and identifies areas requiring further study.

Recent Findings

To date, these studies have been primarily retrospective in design and used self-report of health symptoms or electronic health databases to obtain outcome information. Proximity to UNGD is often used as a surrogate for exposure. There is preliminary evidence linking respiratory outcomes, including asthma exacerbations, and birth outcomes, such as reduced fetal growth and preterm birth, to UNGD; however, results differ across study populations and regions.


Although small, the current body of literature suggests that living near UNGD may have negative health consequences for surrounding communities, but additional work using more granular estimates of exposure or personalized monitoring is urgently needed.


Unconventional natural gas development Fracking Geographic information system Health effects Birth outcomes Asthma 


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EpidemiologyBrown University School of Public HealthProvidenceUSA

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