Appalachian Basin

Activist Researchers Try — And Fail — To Link Fracking to Depression

A familiar team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University, in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), has released yet another study trying to link fracking to health ailments. This time the research team — which includes a fellow at the Post Carbon Institute, an anti-fossil fuel organization that has called fracking a “virus” — claims to find that people who live with the highest level of exposure to oil and natural gas development are 1.5 times more likely to be mildly depressed than those who experience the lowest level of nearby development.

In the past, the team has claimed its research establishes links between fracking and increased asthma, premature births, sinus conditions, migraines, fatigue and radon in Pennsylvania homes, despite failing to take measurements that would prove concentration and exposure levels that would establish a causal link between shale development and negative health outcomes. That work has been criticized for making “unwarranted causal interpretation of associational results,” and this effort seems destined to garner similar backlash.

Read the four things to know about this study on

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