Friday, October 9, 2015

Fracking Causes Premature Birth And Long Term Neurological Problems In Children, John Hopkins Study Suggests

The age of fossil fuels have completely transformed the world into a technological storm of activity. Many people think of modern life as a marvel of progress and innovation, which would not be possible with out a successful oil industry. 

While all this maybe true within a limited perspective, the environmental cost of human progress is devastating. Humanity has systematically destroyed more ecosystems in the past 150 years, then all the ages of accepted history combined.

Our inability to acknowledge the effects our choices impacts human health in ways we are only beginning to realize. The ecology of the planet is our external immune system, how well we treat and maintain the environment directly affects the quality of human life. For-profit global corporations are only interested in generating cash with no regard for environmental effects, a decidedly psychopathic policy.

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Combine a morally bereft for profit industry with an ignorant in active consumer base and there is now a recipe for disaster. 

Fracking and Health

Fracking is the process of extracting oil out of the ground by pumping toxic chemicals into the water-saturated earth. Aquifers are naturally occurring subterranean water wells that feed this life sustaining liquid to the ecosystems plants, animals and humans need to survive. 

But since corporation have no regard for anything but profits, it is willing to destroy the bedrock of life as we know it. There is already a growing population of individuals that recognize the shear insanity of this practice, and now there is an official scientific study by John Hopkins University to add to the growing pile of evidence. 

According to the study, 11% of pregnant women that live around fracking wells had premature births, with many of the children born suffering longterm neurological issues. 

As if the irresponsible destruction of the environment wasn't enough, there is now have a symptom of fracking that hits close to home

This is a huge opportunity to spread awareness and snap the sleeping and morally culpable masses out of their slumber. The fracking issue is an excellent example of how ignorance within a majority of people, provides a way for destructive and immoral practices to flourish. 

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If even 50% of the population was outspoken against fracking, the industry would most likely be forced to stop. But in a bigger way, this is just one branch of a massive tree of destruction, that has been allowed to take root within the soil of wide spread negligence on the part of humanity at large. 

The Realities of Interconnectedness

We only have one planet for everyone to live on, this means that what we choose to do, how we decide to use the planet creates a moral imperative in relation to all other life. For what kind of world are we going to leave our children if we allow these morally blind clandestine corporations to continue to run rampant?

Finally, it takes only a small amount of research to confirm that there have been thousands of free energy and environmentally responsible technologies suppressed by corporations. In the film Thrive, it is revealed that humanity has already invented devices capable of providing all the energy society needs in ways which can actually heal the environment. But since most people don't know about them, we are deceived into thinking the oil industry and related ineffectual energy production methods, are the only available option. 

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This should hopefully underscore the primary cause of all forms of suffering, destruction and chaos; ignorance. The poison fruits of our modern age, the fracking that has been linked to premature birth, can only take root within a soil of ignorance and willful denial of the truth that is all around us. 

For those of us that do recognize the truth, it is our duty to share it with others by any compassionate means possible. This is no small task, considering the masses hold fast to their beliefs and limited ideas as a child holds onto their favorite toy, but for the sake of our children and ourselves, we must find the strength and courage to face the elephant in the living room. Thankfully there is a growing population of people that are seeking answers, we need only provide with kindness.

Thanks to Ben Davidson, from for sharing this.
- Justin

Source - Science Daily

Expectant mothers who live near active natural gas wells operated by the fracking industry in Pennsylvania are at an increased risk of giving birth prematurely and for having high-risk pregnancies, new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research suggests.

The findings, published online last week in the journal Epidemiology, shed light on some of the possible adverse health outcomes associated with the fracking industry, which has been booming in the decade since the first wells were drilled. Health officials have been concerned about the effect of this type of drilling on air and water quality, as well as the stress of living near a well where just developing the site of the well can require 1,000 truck trips on once-quiet roads.

"The growth in the fracking industry has gotten way out ahead of our ability to assess what the environmental and, just as importantly, public health impacts are," says study leader Brian S. Schwartz, MD, a professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Bloomberg School. "More than 8,000 unconventional gas wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania alone and we're allowing this while knowing almost nothing about what it can do to health. Our research adds evidence to the very few studies that have been done in showing adverse health outcomes associated with the fracking industry."

In Pennsylvania in 2006, there were fewer than 100 unconventional gas wells; now there are more than 8,000.

For his study, Schwartz and his colleagues analyzed data from Geisinger Health System, which covers 40 counties in north and central Pennsylvania. They studied the records of 9,384 mothers who gave birth to 10,946 babies between January 2009 and January 2013. They compared that data with information about wells drilled for fracking and looked at how close they were to the homes of the pregnant mothers as well as what stage of drilling the wells were in, how deep the wells were dug and how much gas was being produced at the wells during the mothers' pregnancies. Using this information, they developed an index of how active each of the wells were and how close they were to the women.

The researchers found that living in the most active quartile of drilling and production activity was associated with a 40 percent increase in the likelihood of a woman giving birth before 37 weeks of gestation (considered pre-term) and a 30 percent increase in the chance that an obstetrician had labeled their pregnancy "high-risk," a designation that can include factors such as elevated blood pressure or excessive weight gain during pregnancy. When looking at all of the pregnancies in the study, 11 percent of babies were born preterm, with the majority (79 percent) born between 32 and 36 weeks.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that preterm-related causes of death together accounted for 35 percent of all infant deaths in 2010, more than any other single cause. Being born prematurely is also a leading cause of long-term neurological disabilities in children. Preterm birth cost the U.S. health care system more than $26 billion in 2005, they say.

While the study can't pinpoint why the pregnant women had worse outcomes near the most active wells, Schwartz says that every step of the drilling process has an environmental impact. When the well pads are created, diesel equipment is used to clear acres of land, transport equipment and drill the wells themselves. Drilling down thousands of feet and then horizontally many more thousands of feet requires heavy equipment to break up the shale where the gas sits. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) then involves injecting millions of liters of water mixed with chemicals and sand to fracture the shale. The fluids are then pumped back to the surface. The gas itself also releases pollutants.

Schwartz also says that having a well developed nearby results in increased noise, road traffic and other changes that can increase maternal stress levels.

"Now that we know this is happening we'd like to figure out why," Schwartz says. "Is it air quality? Is it the stress? They're the two leading candidates in our minds at this point."

Energy companies moved to natural gas wells dug using fracking when gas prices were high and supplies were low. While New York State has banned fracking altogether and there is a moratorium on it in Maryland, Pennsylvania has embraced the industry.

At the peak in 2011, Pennsylvania dug 1,900 wells and gas was $12.11 per thousand cubic feet. And while production is down as prices have plummeted -- the state is on track for fewer than 500 new wells in 2015 with the price at $3.69 per thousand cubic feet in July -- Schwartz predicts the economy will again shift and fracking will again be back in favor.

Nevertheless, Schwartz says policymakers must understand there may be real risks as they make decisions on future wells. While the research is still in its infancy, Schwartz says everything that has come out so far should give decision makers cause for concern.

"The first few studies have all shown health impacts," he says. "Policymakers need to consider findings like these in thinking about how they allow this industry to go forward."

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (ES023675-01, ES071541), the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Heath & Society Scholars Program and the National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

Joan A. Casey, David A. Savitz, Sara G. Rasmussen, Elizabeth L. Ogburn, Jonathan Pollak, Dione G. Mercer, Brian S. Schwartz. Unconventional Natural Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in Pennsylvania, USA.Epidemiology, 2015; 1 DOI: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000387


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