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Penn pilot study: Group of Bradford Co, Pa. residents concerned about health effects of hydrofracking
Date:4/28/2013

ORLANDO Residents living in areas near natural gas operations, also known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, are concerned their illnesses may be a result of nearby drilling operations. Twenty-two percent of the participants in a small pilot study surmise that hydrofracking may be the cause of such health concerns as sinus problems, sleeping difficulties, and gastrointestinal problems.

The findings will be presented at the American Occupational Health Conference on April 28 in Orlando, Florida.

Scientists collected responses from 72 adults visiting a primary care physician's office in the hydrofracking-heavy area of Bradford County, Pa., who volunteered to complete an investigator-faciliated survey.

"Almost a quarter of participants consider natural gas operations to be a contributor to their health issues, indicating that there is clearly a concern among residents that should be addressed," says Poun Saberi, MD, MPH, the study's principal investigator with the department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. She is also an investigator with the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology (CEET) at Penn.

Within these 22 percent of responders, 13 percent viewed drilling to be the cause of their current health complaints and 9 percent were concerned that future health problems can be caused by natural gas operations. The previous health complaints by participants were thought to be anecdotal in nature as they were individual cases reported publicly only by popular media.

"What is significant about this study is that the prevalence of impressions about medical symptoms attributed to natural gas operations had not been previously solicited in Pennsylvania. This survey indicates that there is a larger group of people with health concerns than originally assumed," explains Saberi.

The survey included questions about 29 health symptoms, including those previously
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Contact: Karen Kreeger
karen.kreeger@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-5658
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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