The Fracking-Asthma Link

We have posted the results of numerous scientific reports over the years focusing on the potential public health dangers related to the chemicals used in the fracking process*. This latest longitudinal study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association focused on the link between worsened asthma conditions of those who live nearby active fracking.  While it is unclear what source is triggering the worsened asthma attacks (fracking chemicals, dust particles/air pollution, noise pollution-induced stress, etc.) it is worth noting that some of the chemicals commonly used in the fracking process have been linked to triggering asthma attacks and respiratory problems.  If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the Brief about fracking chemicals written by Chemical-Free Life’s Executive Director.

Fracking May Worsen Asthma in People Living Nearby

Associated Press

Fracking may worsen asthma in children and adults who live near sites where the oil and gas drilling method is used, according to an 8-year study in Pennsylvania.

The study found that asthma treatments were as much as four times more common in patients living closer to areas with more or bigger active wells than those living far away.

The highest risk for asthma attacks occurred in people living a median of about 12 miles from drilled wells.


Source: Rasmussen, S.G., et al., Association Between Unconventional Natural Gas Development in the Marcellus Shale and Asthma Exacerbations. JAMA Intern Med. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2436

*Fracking refers to hydraulic fracturing, a technique for extracting oil and gas by injecting water, sand and chemicals into wells at high pressure to crack rock.