Fracking Associated With Smaller Babies

New York Times, By Nicholas Bakalar, June 8

A new study has found an association between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and smaller babies.

The scientists used data on 15,451 live births in southwest Pennsylvania from 2007 to 2010. They categorized the mothers by how close they lived to gas wells and the concentration of wells in the area.

Babies born in the highest exposure areas were not at higher risk of being born prematurely, but they were 34 percent more likely to be small for gestational age than those born in areas of least exposure.

The analysis, published in PLOS One, was observational and did not prove causality. The researchers controlled for mother’s age, race, prenatal care, smoking during pregnancy and other health and behavioral factors.

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