U. of Pitt. study links fracking, underweight babies

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (CBS) – A new study from Pittsburgh is reporting a double-digit increase of underweight babies born to women who live near fracking wells.

Sharon Wilson used to live in Denton, Texas but moved because of fracking. She says the study is more reason to oppose the controversial practice.

There have been a number of studies linking babies’ problems with health and fracking.

Pittsburgh researchers studied birth weights of 15,000 babies born in southwestern Pennsylvania between 2007 and 2010. It reports that mothers living near fracking sites had a 34% chance of delivering smaller babies than mothers living farther away, even after taking smoking or pre-natal care into account.

Wilson believes it’s likely true in Denton too.

“People know that they’re being exposed to this air pollution and they know it’s harming their health,” Wilson said. “But industry just denies it.”

But even the study itself says it cannot prove fracking caused the lower birth weights, saying in part, “there may be a number of unknown factors that led to our conclusion,” including what it termed an “unknown confounding factor” and even mere “chance.”

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