Living Near Oil and Gas Wells Linked to Increase in Cardiovascular Disease


14-12-18 05:08:00,


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Environment & Health

Living Near Oil and Gas Wells Linked to Increase in Cardiovascular Disease

People who live near oil and gas operations are more likely to have early indicators of cardiovascular disease than those who don’t, according to a recent study.

Cardiovascular disease resulted in 900,000 deaths in 2016 and is the leading cause of mortality in the US, and more than 17.4 million Americans now live within one mile of an active oil and gas well.

The small pilot study, which was published in the journal Environmental Research on December 6, found that those who live in areas with more intense oil and gas development, including fracking, showed more early signs of cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, changes in the stiffness of blood vessels, and markers of inflammation.

Researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health examined 97 relatively healthy adults living in an area of Northeastern Colorado with pockets of dense oil and gas activity, including extensive truck traffic, pipelines, and both fracking and traditional well pads.

“To date most of the research on the health impacts of oil and gas development has used data from existing health registries,” lead author and assistant research professor at the Colorado School of Public Health Lisa McKenzie told Environmental Health News. “For this study, we actually went out and took direct measurements from people, which meant we knew a lot more about them.”

Study participants were selected carefully: None of them smoked or had jobs that exposed them to dust, fumes, solvents or oil or gas development activities, and none had histories of diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or chronic inflammatory diseases like asthma or arthritis. Throughout the study, they were regularly asked about their stress levels and recent life events in an attempt to ensure that researchers would be made aware of any factors that could influence test results.

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