Multi-State Health Analysis Exposes Flaws of Fracking Health Studies

The Colorado Department of Public and Environment and Pennsylvania Department of Health recently teamed up to analyze studies claiming to link health impacts to oil and natural gas development. What they found is in line with similar analyses: There is  “insufficient weight of evidence” to link living near oil and natural gas production sites with poor health outcomes.

The two health departments reviewed 20 epidemiological studies, with 32 different health outcomes, finding:

“Since only a few outcomes were covered by multiple studies, there was insufficient weight of evidence for most health outcomes. We found studies of populations living near ONG operations provide limited evidence (modest scientific findings that support the outcome, but with significant limitations) of harmful health effects including asthma exacerbations and various self-reported symptoms. For all other health outcomes, we found conflicting evidence (mixed), insufficient evidence, or in some cases, a lack of evidence of the possibility for harmful health effects.” (emphasis added)

CDPHE and PADOH consistently described these studies as having “low certainty” and “insufficient weight of evidence,” undercutting the studies’ claims that people suffer worse health outcomes just because they live near oil and gas operations.

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