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