United States: Frack health dangers exposed by new report

There are correlations between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and a range of health issues for Pennsylvania residents, according to a study released on August 25 by the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The problems include nasal and sinus problems, migraines and fatigue

The report, Environmental Health Perspectives, is the school's third study over the span of the past year focusing on the adverse health effects of the controversial method for extracting gas from solid rock deposits, increasingly used in Pennsylvania.

Last year, researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health also recently found an association between fracking and high-risk pregnancies and premature births. In July, they also found ties between fracking and asthma.

The process of fracking involves pumping water and toxic chemicals at high pressure into deep rock formations to release trapped gas. The practice has been criticised as harmful to public health and the environment.

Most of the oil companies that extract gas through fracking claim that their technology is safe. Last year, the Obama administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency, said in a report that fracking was not causing widespread damage to the nation's drinking water.

However, studies like the John Hopkins one, show that these claims are untrue. A 2014 investigation also revealed that health workers in Pennsylvania were silenced by the Pennsylvania State Department of Health and told not to respond to health inquiries that used certain fracking “buzzwords”.

According to the most recent Gallup poll, support for fracking among US citizens has slipped to 36% while opposition has climbed to 51%.

[Abridged from TeleSUR English.]

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