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Medical News & Perspectives
May 23 2012

Rigorous Evidence Slim for Determining Health Risks From Natural Gas Fracking

JAMA. 2012;307(20):2135-2136. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3726

Hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking, allows access to previously inaccessible natural gas reserves. Fracking in the United States is being touted as a panacea, creating much-needed jobs following a brutal recession, reducing dependence on foreign energy supplies, and lowering emissions of greenhouse gases that might contribute to global warming. As this natural gas production ramps up, however, there are few scientific findings on the effects of fracking on the environment and animal and human health. Moreover, anecdotal evidence suggests it may cause harm by contaminating well and ground water and releasing gases into the air.