Living near hydraulic fracturing wells raises risk of childhood leukemia

(ORDO NEWS) — A new study has found that living near a hydraulic fracturing site is associated with an increased risk of childhood leukemia. The new study was published last week in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Scientists from Yale University studied a sample of nearly 2,500 children in Pennsylvania, 405 of whom were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL, a type of cancer that affects white blood cells).

ALL is the most common type of cancer in children. Although the survival rate is relatively high, the survivors experience health and mental problems.

The latest study found that children who lived within 2 kilometers of a fracturing well were 1.98 times more likely to develop ALL than those who lived far from a well.

If they had lived this close to the fracturing site when they were still in the womb, the risk was 2.8 times higher.

The researchers took into account other factors that may be associated with a cancer diagnosis, such as socioeconomic status and ethnic origin, in their work.

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the process of pumping water, sand and chemicals into bedrock in an attempt to access fossil fuel reserves deep below the Earth‘s surface.

There is plenty of evidence that this fossil fuel extraction process is bad for the climate, the environment, and public health.

In particular, a number of studies have linked it to pregnancy complications. However, few studies have directly addressed the relationship between hydraulic fracturing exposure and cancer in children.

“Unconventional oil and gas exploration can use and release chemicals that are associated with cancer, so the potential exposure of children living near a hydraulic fracturing to these chemical carcinogens is a major public health concern,” said study senior author and assistant professor of epidemiology. Yale School of Public Health Nicole Deziel.

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