Researchers link fracking to high-risk pregnancies and premature births

A new study has found that expectant mothers living close to hydraulic fracturing wells are more likely to experience high-risk pregnancies or deliver prematurely. Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, involves drilling into the earth and pumping water, chemicals and sand to release the natural gas inside.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health discovered that pregnant women residing close to active fracking areas were 40 percent more likely to deliver preterm, or before 37 weeks of gestation. They also found a 30 percent rise in high-risk pregnancies. Pregnancies are labeled high-risk when they involve factors such as excessive weight gain or elevated blood pressure in the mother.

The study, published in the journal Epidemiology, involved examining the medical records of 9,384 mothers in Pennsylvania who gave birth to 10,946 babies between January 2009 and 2013. The research team compared how close the pregnant women lived to active fracking wells. However, they were unable to determine why pregnant women had worse outcomes near the most active wells.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, premature births and high-risk pregnancies can result in a number of health problems for babies, including cerebral palsy, delayed development, breathing difficulties and long-term neurological disabilities.

It is important to note that determining fault can be more complicated than it might seem. If your child was injured and you believe someone else is fully or partially to blame, contact Chalik & Chalik to learn more about your rights.