Newborn Birth Weight Drops In High Fracking Areas

Hydraulic fracturing has been linked to everything from flammable drinking water to earthquakes. Now, exploratory research shows that the negative health effects of fracking may start before before we’re even born.

Analysis of birth measures in Pennsylvania, which has a high concentration of fracking operations, revealed that mothers exposed to this dangerous method of natural gas extraction are 25 percent more likely to deliver an underweight baby.

Low birth weight or premature babies experience increased risk for learning difficulties, vision difficulties, chronic respiratory problems like asthma, and cerebral palsy. On average, a low birth-weight baby can cost an additional $51,000 before its first birthday, not includinjg long-term costs for the child or decrease in parental earnings.

The study, “Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Infant Health: Evidence from Pennsylvania,” was conducted by Cornell doctoral candidate Elaine L. Hill. To arrive at her conclusion, Hill examined birth measures, including birth weight and premature birth from 2003 (before fracking began in Pennsylvania) up to 2010, and focused on those mothers living within 1.5 miles of a fracking operation.

Hill recently testified about her results at a fracking forum hosted by Sen. Tony Avella in New York City last week. New York currently has a moratorium on fracking, but may start issuing permits by early next year. Hill’s testimony represented a huge risk for the doctoral student, who’s work does not share the same protection as a tenured professor.

“My study is robust across multiple specifications and it indicates that our future generation may be seriously harmed. I couldn’’t possibly value my career over their well-being,” wrote Hill in an email to The Epoch Times. It may take up to two years to finish the peer review process for her study, at which time she hopes new fracking regulations will already be in place.

Related Reading:

Natural Gas Fracking: The Fossil Fuel Industry’s New Low

Don’t Drink The Water: Fracking Liquid Likely In PA Potable Water

Fracking In California?

Image via marcellusprotest/Flickr


Abbe A.
Azaima A.4 years ago

so wrong

tiffany t.
tiffany t.4 years ago


Michael C.
Michael C.4 years ago

Continued from below:

When our vehicles enter the property, we use our golf carts, which are solar powered.

A recent survey shows that the average American produces 2.6# of garbage each day, my wife and I produce less than 2.6# of garbage in two weeks.

All of that and we still find time to donate our labour at our community food bank, go figure. 

Michael C.
Michael C.4 years ago

All of us owe a bill, which at the end of the day, must be paid, yet. Why is no one standing up to pay it. We should all be standing up to Washington and telling them...STOP FRIGGIN FRACKING, NOW!!

Fracking is a crime against humanity, Get Involved, find out what Fracking is doing to your community, too late is just that...just too late'

We recognized the many faults long ago and we sought to work to correct them...try as we might. We have signed countless petitions, thousands, we attended hundreds of meetings, we have been arrested far too times to remember, spending time in jail due to your convictions is not much fun, but it does make ones vision clearer, it helps to set a path for one future.
Once, it was with the Berrigans Brothers, and with Daniels faith and fellowship brought us all to the end of our sentences, and to think, our shared crime...trying to stop yet another Nuclear Power Plant from being built. We then found our personal path...

We have been solar and wind powered for over 30 years, we produce our own fuel, BioDiesel.

We grow the majority of our own food by way of our Aquaponics (both Tilapia and produce) Station and sell much of what is left at our farmers markets. Where we can, we trade with others for what we do not produce.

We have composting toilets, we compost our veggie "waste," we raise chickens and guess what?

We live only 19 miles from Tucson, AZ, the dry hate state.

When our vehicles enter the pr

Lynda Duke
Lynda Duke4 years ago

FRACKING = pushing water into methane gas pools in the underground shale caverns, thus pushing the gas out of the pools and up to the surface to extract and sell to you. FRACKING leaves methane gas in the water as the water returns to the water table, that you drink.


Michaela C.


Christine C.
Christine C.4 years ago


Christine C.
Christine C.4 years ago


Magyar Girl
Past Member 4 years ago

Helen K ~ what a factual and insightful post! Kudos.

Magyar Girl
Past Member 4 years ago

Does this really surprise anyone?