Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have published a study (abstract) noting that pregnant women are more likely to give birth prematurely if they live close to fracking sites.
The researchers used data from 40 counties in Pennsylvania, in which
10,946 babies were born between January 2009 and January 2013.
compared the data with the fast spread of fracking sites across the
state — thousands have been built since 2006.
found that living in the most active quartile of drilling and production
activity was associated with a 40 percent increase in the likelihood of
a woman giving birth before 37 weeks of gestation (considered pre-term)
and a 30 percent increase in the chance that an obstetrician had
labeled their pregnancy "high-risk," a designation that can include
factors such as elevated blood pressure or excessive weight gain during
When looking at all of the pregnancies in the study, 11
percent of babies were born preterm, with the majority (79 percent) born
between 32 and 36 weeks."