Exploring how fracking may harm the environment, health

Fracking—the extraction of natural gas and oil from shale—has ballooned in Ohio over the past decade. Some argue that the fracking boom is bringing economic benefits to the state. But others voice concern about damage to the environment, the climate, and human health.

An October 26, 2019 Salon article mentioned a study led by Elise Elliott, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, that found that the closer Ohioans live to fracking wells, the more likely they are to experience health symptoms such as stress and fatigue. The study also found that higher concentrations of contaminants were found in drinking water sources closer to the fracking wells.

Elliott told Salon that more research is needed to confirm links between contaminants found near fracking wells—such as benzene, hydrogen sulfide, and formaldehyde—and health issues of residents who live nearby. “Our knowledge on this is definitely growing, [but] we’re not quite there yet to say definitively what it does,” she said.

Read the Salon article: How things got so fracking bad in Ohio

Learn more

In response to fracking, a grassroots health registry takes shape in Ohio (Harvard Chan School news)