Quantcast
Connect with us

Babies born near oil and gas wells are up to 70% more likely to have congenital heart defects, new study shows

Published

on

Oil Wells (Shuttershock)

Researchers at the University of Colorado studied pregnant women who are among the 17 million Americans living within a mile from an active oil or gas well

Proximity to oil and gas sites makes pregnant mothers up to 70 percent more likely to give birth to a baby with congenital heart defects, according to a new study.

Led by Dr. Lisa McKenzie at the University of Colorado, researchers found that the chemicals released from oil and gas wells can have serious and potentially fatal effects on babies born to mothers who live within a mile of an active well site—as about 17 million Americans do.

ADVERTISEMENT

The researchers studied more than 3,000 newborns who were born in Colorado between 2005 and 2011. The state is home to about 60,000 fracking sites, according to the grassroots group Colorado Rising. In areas with the highest intensity of oil and gas extraction activity, mothers were 40 to 70 percent more likely to give birth to babies with congenital heart defects (CHDs).

“We observed more children were being born with a congenital heart defect in areas with the highest intensity of oil and gas well activity,” said McKenzie in a statement.

The study was more precise than previous reports about the link between oil and gas extraction and CHDs. The researchers studied families in which the pregnant mother lived near an active oil or gas well up to the second month of pregnancy, when fetal cardiac development takes place.

They also estimated the level of intensity of the oil and gas activity, determined exactly how close the pregnant mothers lived to the well sites, and ensured there were no other significant air pollution sources which could skew their results.

One science journalist, on social media, called the study “extremely convincing.”

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Biologist Sandra Steingraber was among the experts on the dangers of fossil fuel extraction who pointed to the study as the latest evidence that allowing oil and gas wells to operate, especially near communities, is a public health hazard.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s a strong study,” Steingraber wrote on Twitter after reading the paper, noting that the researchers built on knowledge scientists already have about chemicals that are known to be harmful to prenatal health and that are released during fracking.

ADVERTISEMENT

Previous studies about the effects of oil and gas drilling on cardiac health of newborns “did not take into account stage of pregnancy or what was happening at the wellpad during that window of time,” wrote Steingraber. “This matters because the cardiac structures form very early in development—during the first two months. If fracking is literally wrecking the hearts of unborn babies it has to do so in early pregnancy.”

“Looking at where mothers lived immediately before pregnancy and during the first critical weeks after conception and what was going on at nearby fracking wells, researchers found startling patterns,” she added.

CHDs are the leading cause of death in infants who have birth defects. Babies born with CHDs are more likely to show a “failure to thrive,” experience brain injury, and exhibit developmental challenges.

The study comes as President Donald Trump plans to open up 725,000 acres of public land in California to oil and gas companies. The president has offered a total of 378 million acres of public land and water for oil and gas drilling activities since taking office.

ADVERTISEMENT

Steingraber called on opponents of fossil fuel extraction to speak out about their opposition by appealing to lawmakers and in letters to the editor, noting that McKenzie has been targeted by oil and gas giants for years as they fight research revealing the public health dangers they pose.

by

ADVERTISEMENT

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Conservative rips GOP ‘turkeys’ for turning Thanksgiving COVID safety measures into a culture-war fight

Published

on

Writing in The Bulwark this Thursday, Tim Miller says that America should be experiencing a time of national solidarity in the midst of a global pandemic. Instead, "we have a president whose focus is entirely on his effort to perpetrate a fraud on the American public."

According to Miller, Republicans are disseminating a narrative that says coronavirus restriction should be met with a sort of "organized resistance" from individuals and businesses that feel unfairly oppressed. While everyone wants to be with their families on Thanksgiving, "one thing that most people have learned by the time they are adults is that they don’t get to do whatever they want whenever they want."

Continue Reading

2020 Election

‘Fox & Friends’ graphic destroys Trump for ‘baselessly’ and ‘falsely’ claiming election was rigged

Published

on

Viewers of Fox & Friends were treated to a dose of the truth on Thursday when the show admitted that President Donald Trump has "baselessly" and "falsely" claimed that the 2020 election was rigged.

The message to Fox News viewers appeared on the network's ticker graphic that is displayed at the bottom of the screen.

"President Trump phoned into a meeting organized by Republicans in Pennsylvania Wed., baseless claiming that the election was 'rigged' and falsely claiming that he won it 'by a lot,'" the Fox News ticker reported. "Most of Trump's legal efforts to challenge voting procedures in PA, MI and other states have been thrown out and his campaign has not produced sufficient evidence to back up claims of widespread voter fraud."

Continue Reading
 

2020 Election

Exiled Trump lawyer Sidney Powell misspells ‘district’ two different ways in purported ‘epic’ Georgia lawsuit

Published

on

Exiled Trump attorney Sidney Powell vowed to file an "epic" lawsuit against the state of Georgia to overturn President-elect Joe Biden's win in the state -- but it seems the lawsuit is marred by some epic spelling errors.

Bloomberg reports that Powell's lawsuit misspells the word "district" twice in two different ways.

Continue Reading