(HealthDay News) — Children who live near areas where fracking takes place appear to have an increased risk of lymphoma, according to taxpayer-funded research conducted in Western Pennsylvania.
The research showed that children who were exposed to unconventional natural gas drilling activities had a 2.24-fold higher risk of lymphoma than unexposed children. Children who lived within 1 mile of a natural gas well had a 5.05- to 7.71-fold higher risk of lymphoma than children who lived more than 5 miles from a well.
The estimated incidence of lymphoma was 0.006% to 0.0084% for children living within 1 mile of a well. In comparison, the incidence of lymphoma in the general US population under the age of 20 is 0.0012%.
Although dozens of children and young adults in a heavily drilled area outside Pittsburgh have Ewing sarcoma, this study showed no association between proximity to natural gas wells and bone cancer. There were no associations for brain cancer or leukemia either.
Additional research did show that residents of all ages living near the wells had an increased risk of severe asthma reactions. Researchers also found mixed results regarding preterm births and birth weights among families living near gas wells.
This research was conducted by the University of Pittsburgh. It was commissioned by former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, following a push by families of pediatric cancer patients. The findings were released August 15 at a public meeting at Pennsylvania Western University.