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Marcellus Shale & Health Outcomes

shale well pad

The EHI's most recent efforts involve the Marcellus shale. We are developing a number of research studies regarding the potential environmental impacts of unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) in the Marcellus shale, and how these may influence such health outcomes as asthma, cardiovascular disease and pregnancy outcomes.

Marcellus shale development can influence air, surface water, and ground water quality, and we are developing studies to assess the potential health impacts of each of these sources and routes of exposure. We are also involved with Geisinger's larger efforts to launch a variety of Marcellus-related studies. We have obtained well and pipeline data from the state and are entering well completion report data into a geospatial database for use in future epidemiologic studies. We have obtained NIH funding to begin health studies.

The NIH study, Marcellus Shale Development, Respiratory and Reproductive Outcomes in Pennsylvania, will use well and infrastructure data to estimate exposures to all aspects of Marcellus shale development in Pennsylvania. These exposure estimates will then be used to evaluate whether asthma control and pregnancy outcomes are affected by Marcellus shale development by studying 30,000 asthma patients and 22,000 pregnancies in the Geisinger Health System from 2006-13. For more information, see the abstract.