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A study in the US shows that elderly who live near fracking sites are at greater risk of death from premature birth| Environment

A study in the US shows that elderly who live near fracking sites are at greater risk of death from premature birth| Environment

According to a major US study, elderly people living near or below unconventional oil and natural gas wells such fracking sites are more susceptible to premature death.

The extraction of oil and gas using unconventional methods such as fracking has grown rapidly in America over the past 20 years. At least 17.6 million people live within one kilometer from an active well.

Contrary to traditional drilling, unconventional oil-and-gas development (UOGD), can result in higher levels of air pollution and poor water quality. People of color and communities with low incomes have been particularly affected by fossil fuel extraction.

Researchers from Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health analyzed the health records of over 15 million Medicare beneficiaries. This health insurance program covers at least 95% of Americans who are 65 years old or older and is available in all major areas of the country. They also collected data on approximately 2.5m oil-and-gas wells that covered the top exploration states, including Montana, Texas, and Pennsylvania.

According to a study published in, the risk of premature death increases the closer people live to an oil-and-gas operation. This is even after taking into account socioeconomic, demographic, and demographic factors like gender and race. Nature Energy.

Residents living in close proximity and downwind are most at risk. This suggests that the higher mortality rates may be due to toxic airborne contaminants. The risk of developing life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and other health problems from exposure to radioactive materials and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with unconventional drilling is high.

Our findings show the importance of considering the health risks of UOGDs being placed near or upwind of homes, according to Longxiang Li, a postdoctoral fellow with the Department of Environmental Health, and the study’s principal author.

The mortality rate for elderly people living near wells is 2.5% higher than that of those living further away, compared to 3.5% for those living downwind. This would result in thousands of premature deaths from the oil and gas boom. However the peer-reviewed study does NOT include estimates of the number of lives lost.

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This is the first major study on the link between premature deaths in older people and unconventional oil-and-gas drilling activities. The first to examine wind direction. More than 100,000 UOGD wells were drilled onshore as of 2015. Many are located in densely populated areas.

UOGD is a significant industrial activity in the US. However very little is known regarding its public health consequences. Petros Koutrakis is a professor of environmental science and the senior author of the study.

This study builds on previous studies which found that residents who live near these sites are more likely to develop prenatal complications, cancers, and respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

The authors conclude that as unconventional oil and gas exploration continues apace, further research is needed in order to understand the causal connections between living near or downwind and adverse effects on the health.

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