Go outside your house right now. I don’t care if it’s raining! Just do it.
Good. Now, measure the distance between your front door and the nearest fracking well. (To determine, first and foremost, whether or not this exercise will be productive, please consult this map.)
Is the distance less than 0.6 miles? GREAT! Just kidding, that’s actually terrible news — you may be more susceptible to a whole slew of fun medical problems. What kind? Oh, rashes, eczema, sinus problems, and headaches, for starters. Woof.
A new study from Yale University – claimed by the lead author to be the largest of its kind – shows a correlation between living in proximity to a fracking well and symptoms of skin and upper respiratory problems.
The study, which was published today, surveyed 180 households in Washington Co., Pa., which lies about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh and has developed into a hotbed of fracking activity in recent years – the county now plays host to over 1,000 wells. It specifically sampled houses dependent on ground-fed water wells, which can be susceptible to contamination from chemicals used in fracking.
The results? Those who lived less than 0.6 miles away from a well were twice as likely to report health issues as their friends who lived over 1.2 miles from it.
But as anyone who’s ever half-dozed through a semester of ECON101 (for shame!) well knows, correlation does not imply causation. The study’s lead author, Peter Rabinowitz, is quick to emphasize that.
However (from the New Haven Register):
“It’s more of an association than a causation,” Rabinowitz said. “We want to make sure people know it’s a preliminary study. … To me it strongly indicates the need to further investigate the situation and not ignore it.”
Particularly in light of recent revelations about the state of healthcare and fracking in Pennsylvania, our response to Rabinowitz is: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!