Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” may worsen asthma in children and adults who live near drilling sites, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If your home or community was affected by air or water contamination caused by fracking, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
July 18, 2016 – The study, conducted by a research team led by Sara Rasmussen of Johns Hopkins University, found that asthma treatments were up to 4 times more common in patients living near active fracking wells compared to those who didn’t.
However, the study did not establish that fracking directly caused or worsened asthma, and there’s no way to tell whether asthma patients exposed to fracking are worse off than those exposed to traditional gas drilling or to other industrial activities, according to the researchers.
Fracking is a technique for extracting oil and gas that involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into underground wells at high pressure to crack rock. Environmental effects include exhaust, air and water pollution, as well as noise from drilling rigs, compressors and other machinery. Fracking led to a boom in U.S. oil and gas production, most notably in Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado.
Over 25 million people in the U.S. suffer from asthma, a disease that narrows airways in the lungs. Symptoms include wheezing, breathing problems and tightness in the chest, which can be worsened in the presence of dust, air pollution and stress.
The JAMA study noted that from 2005 to 2012, over 6,200 fracking wells were drilled in Pennsylvania alone. The researchers looked at electronic health records to identify nearly 36,000 asthma patients treated during that time in the Geisinger Health System. Evidence of asthma attacks included new prescriptions for steroid medications (app. 20,000), ER admissions for asthma treatment (2,000) and asthma hospitalizations (5,000).
These outcomes were 50% to 4 times more common in asthma patients living closer to areas with active fracking wells than among those living far away, the study found. The greatest risk for asthma attacks occurred in people living a median of approximately 12 miles from drilled wells, and the lowest risk was for people living a median of about 40 miles away.
“Asthma is a huge problem,” said Dr. Norman H. Edelman, senior scientific adviser for the American Lung Association. “Anything we can do to elucidate the causes will be very useful.”
Do I Need a Fracking Lawyer?
The Class Action Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in fracking lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently investigating potential settlements in all 50 states.
Free Confidential Case Evaluation: Again, if you believe you were harmed by the fracking process, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit and we can help.