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Air pollution from fracking increases the risk of lung and heart disease in children


(NaturalNews) The controversial practice of fracking has now been proven to increase the risk of lung and heart disease in children, as reported by Truth Out. Researchers already believe that it leaves American rivers tainted with a toxic cocktail of radium and lead, but this latest study – published in the journal Reviews on Environmental Health – reveals how air pollution from fracking is actually putting our lungs, hearts and immune systems at risk.

Children and infants are most at risk, and health problems associated with air pollution from fracking begin in the womb, where a child's developing respiratory system is particularly fragile, and at risk from the five airborne pollutants that are a result of fracking and drilling.

What is fracking?

According to the BBC, fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before forcing a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into the rock at extremely high pressure. This then allows the gas to flow out into the head of a well. The process can be carried out either vertically or horizontally to create new pathways or extend existing ones which release gas.

Fracking uses huge amounts of water, and there are worries that the process itself could lead to small earth tremors. But as well as these major concerns, activists are also campaigning against the process because it uses potentially carcinogenic chemicals that may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site.

Fracking is tainting farmland, drinking water and generally terrorizing the environment – as well as having some very serious health impacts on people who are exposed to the chemicals in the injection fluid.

Health impacts

The newly published, peer-reviewed study concludes that the air pollution caused by fracking puts the health of people and young children at serious risk. This is the first study of its kind to focus entirely on the impacts that fracking has on the ability of children to breathe.

The researchers concluded "that exposure to ozone, silica dust, benzene, and formaldehyde is linked to adverse respiratory health effects, particularly in infants and children." These pollutants become airborne as a result of fracking, and affect people living in the vicinity of the plant.

The researchers note: "While the rapid growth of this industry was undertaken without substantial public health research, there are now numerous publications clarifying health risks and, increasingly, health outcomes." As reported by Truth Out, since 2013 there have been more than 560 peer-reviewed studies on the impacts of fracking, and the risks have become much more widely understood. There is definitely huge reason to be concerned.

The study recommends a minimum one mile radius be maintained around occupied dwellings such as schools, hospitals and homes – keeping fracking at a reasonable distance from children and infants. Generally, however, across the U.S. this buffer zone is not maintained, and there are no federal regulations requiring the industry to track the proximity of fracking plants to children.

In Pennsylvania for example, there are more than 53,000 children under 10 living or attending school within one mile of a permitted fracking well. And it's not just a problem for the East Coast – according to Truth Out, there are 32 schools within just 1,000 feet of fracked wells in four northern Colorado counties.

The researchers state: "People really near unconventional oil and gas and fracking sites and those who work in the fracking industry have the right to know the chemicals that are being used that may pose health threats, especially to vulnerable populations like women and children."

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