Fylde protesters hail anti-fracking health study

A fracking rig at Preese Hall in 2014
A fracking rig at Preese Hall in 2014
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Anti-fracking campaigners say a new study from a US university says fracking could cause health problems in pregnancy.

They say the report from John Hopkins University which looked at premature births and high risk pregnancy cases in Pennsylvania, which has 3,689 wells, showed evidence building up about adverse health effects on people living near fracking sites.

But energy company Cuadrilla said that the study was flawed as it made no direct link to fracking and pointed out there were many possible causes of premature births.

Claire Stephenson, from Preston New Road Action Group said: “Due to the high population density of the Fylde Coast area and close proximity to a primary school, the Preston New Road site is entirely unsuitable for testing such a risky technology.

“The proximity of the proposed drill site, currently within 350 yards of residents and the recent massive surge in new-build housing with further proposed large estates within one-two miles, will greatly increase these health risks.

“We’ve already been informed no health monitoring will take place before, during or after the hydraulic fracturing process, therefore how can the public’s health be paramount?

“Another 2015 journal has documented a significantly increased incidence of hospital admissions for acute heart problems in adult residents living in fracking areas.”

Dr Frank Rugman a co-author of the 2015 UK Medact Report said: “The published and peer-reviewed evidence for the adverse impacts on human health from this industrial process is accumulating.”

A Cuadrilla spokesman said: “ As we’ve seen with similar studies in the past, the actual data does not support the study’s conclusion.

“For example it does not demonstrate that there is a higher rate of premature births near well sites than the USA national average.

“In this case, the authors are forced to acknowledge in the report that they cannot credibly link oil and gas activity to premature births in Pennsylvania.

“In addition they make assumptions such as that air quality may be partly to blame however, in the UK there are strict regulatory air quality limits that any operation has to meet and therefore this flawed research is certainly not applicable to the UK.”