Researchers Again Attempt to Connect Shale Operations to Sexually Transmitted Infections

A Yale researcher’s latest attempt to blame fracking for increased cases of sexually transmitted infections produced inconsistent conclusions that ignore trends seen elsewhere, but still prompted headlines claiming a link between shale operations and disease.

The Yale School of Public Health team that includes Nicole C. Deziel recently published a study linking hydraulic fracturing operations to two sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Texas. The study states:

“Associations between shale drilling and chlamydia and gonorrhea in Texas may reflect increased risk in areas with higher drilling activity and a greater number of major metropolitan areas.”

Notably, the researchers said they found “no statistically significant associations for any STIs” in Colorado and North Dakota – two states that are also major oil and natural gas producers. The reason given for the spike in certain Texas counties was the influx of non-local workers to these counties. But one would expect to also see the same trend in other states where the industry attracts non-local workers.

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