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They found that pregnant women living within two-thirds of a mile to a fracturing well were more likely to give birth to a smaller infant than women who lived at least 10 miles away during pregnancy.
In fact, babies born to mothers who lived closest to or .6 miles within a well were 25 percent more likely to weigh less than 5.5 pounds, which is classified as a low birth weight. Low birth weights are linked to infant mortality, ADHD, asthma, lower test scores, lower schooling attainment and lower lifetime earnings.
"Given the growing evidence that pollution affects babies in utero, it should not be surprising that fracking, which is a heavy industrial activity, has negative effects on infants," co-author Janet M. Currie said in a statement.
While scientists are unsure whether the pollution is coming from air, water, onsite chemicals or increased traffic, they say the results prove “hydraulic fracturing does have an impact on our health.”
They are now looking forward to investigating the source of the pollution and challenging lawmakers consider the dangers on health.
“As local and state policymakers decide whether to allow hydraulic fracturing in their communities,” co-author Michael Greenstone added, “it is crucial that they carefully examine the costs and benefits, including the potential impacts from pollution.”
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