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Natural Awakenings Tampa Florida

Avoid Living Near a Fracking Facility

Hand holding sign reading "NO FRACKING"

Paul-Alain Hunt/

The 17.6 million Americans living within one kilometer of one of the country’s 100,000 hydraulic fracturing (fracking) facilities face a higher risk of heart problems, cancer and respiratory disease, recent research suggests. In the latest study from Harvard, statisticians found that living near or downwind from a fracking site contributes to earlier death among elderly people. Combining the Medicare records of 15 million people over age 65 with zip codes of fracking wells, they found that the closer to the wells people lived, the greater their risk of premature mortality. Those that lived closest had a statistically significant elevated mortality risk (2.5 percent higher) compared with those that didn’t live close by, and those living downwind faced a higher risk of premature death than those upwind. The results suggest that airborne contaminants emitted by the wells are contributing to the increased mortality, the researchers write.