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A new study published on Thursday has found that fracking is associated with migraine headache, nasal and sinus, and fatigue symptoms among residents in Pennsylvania, where more than 8,800 hydraulic fracturing wells have been drilled in the past decade.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health sent in 2014 a questionnaire to adults in central and northeastern Pennsylvania and received responses from 33 percent of participants. The research found that out of 7,785 study participants, 24 percent had chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), 23 percent had migraine headache, and 25 percent had reported high levels of fatigue.
“We don't know specifically why people in close proximity to these larger wells are more likely to be sick,” Brian S. Schwartz, the study’s senior author and a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School, said on the website.
“We need to find a way to better understand the correlation and, hopefully, do something to protect the health of these people,” he noted.
This is not the first study that Schwartz has co-authored in the past few months. In July, the American Medical Association’s Journal of Internal Medicine released the results of a study that documented a correlation between fracking activities and an increased risk of asthma exacerbations for nearby residents.
Unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) has previously been associated with air quality disturbances, which can lead to the exacerbation of asthma symptoms.
Schwartz led the research team, which included 35,508 asthma patients who visited the Geisinger Clinic in Pennsylvania from 2005 to 2012.
Pennsylvania’s rise as a major user of UNGD techniques between the years 2005 to 2013 caught the researchers’ interest. A total of 6,253 wells of the kind began drilling in the state during the time period studied, while 4,728 were stimulated and 3,706 were in production.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.