(Reuters) – The public health effects of shale gas development need to be rigorously studied as production rapidly spreads in the United States, public health professionals and advocates said on Monday.
Advances in the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, drilling technique have revolutionized the natural gas industry, but researchers said more must be done to evaluate what the shale boom means for the those living near wells.
Health groups have concerns including possible air and water pollution from fracking, especially since some operations take place very close to homes and schools.
“We are leaping before we are looking,” said Jerome Paulson, of the Mid-Atlantic Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, at a conference focused on shale gas and public health.
“Those who are drilling and extracting … have not done the human health research and ecological studies to assure that the process and chemicals they use are the least hazardous possible,” Paulson said. MORE …