Fracking Linked to Sinus, Migraines, Fatigue

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By Leslie A. Pappas

Aug. 25 — Hydraulic fracturing and unconventional natural gas development may be associated with health problems such as sinus problems, migraine headaches and fatigue, according to a new peer-reviewed study published Aug. 25.

A research team led by Aaron W. Tustin of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health compared the health issues that patients reported on a survey with their proximity to unconventional gas activity and concluded that fracking was associated with nasal and sinus symptoms, migraine headaches and fatigue.

The researchers in 2014 mailed questionnaires to 23,700 patients of the Geisinger Clinic, which provides primary care services to more than 400,000 patients in central and northeastern Pennsylvania. The researchers asked whether the patients suffered from chronic sinus problems, migraines or fatigue. About a third (7,785) of those surveyed responded. The researchers then used residential addresses and public data about unconventional drilling to estimate the amount of exposure each respondent had to fracking activities.

The study has several limitations, and further research is necessary to determine whether hydraulic fracturing caused the symptoms, the report concludes.

The study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a monthly peer-reviewed journal published by the federal government with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie A. Pappas in Philadelphia at lpappas@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

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