New peer-reviewed study finds increased risk of premature birth and high-risk pregnancies among pregnant women living close to heavy drilling and fracking in Pennsylvania

Contact: Katie Huffling, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, 

Baltimore, MD — Researchers at John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a new study in the premier public health journal Epidemiology linking birth outcomes and proximity to drilling and fracking operations during pregnancy. The analysis included more than 9,000 pregnancies in the heavily fracked state of Pennsylvania. The study found that preterm births were 40 percent higher among women living in areas with intense drilling and fracking operations compared to women who did not live near drilling and fracking. Women living in heavy drilling areas during pregnancy were also more likely to have high-risk pregnancies, as reported by their healthcare provider.

Members of Concerned Health Professionals of Maryland made the following statements:

“Fracking is a public health disaster unfolding before our very eyes,” said Dr. Gina Angiola, Board Member of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility.    “As a retired Ob/Gyn physician and a mother, I am appalled that this industry continues to expand operations in the face of a rapidly growing body of research showing serious, often irreversible, health harms.  A premature birth can lead to a lifetime of health problems and expenses. Families suffer, while industry profits. Unacceptable.”

“As a nurse-midwife, I help women have the healthiest pregnancies possible”, said Katie Huffling, a nurse-midwife and Director of Programs for the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. “Fracking in Pennsylvania and other states makes it increasingly difficult for us, as providers, to help our patients have healthy pregnancies. This new study further highlights the need to keep this toxic industry out of Maryland when harms to human health and our next generations are so clear."


Concerned Health Professionals of Maryland seeks to amplify the voices of clinicians, researchers, and other health professionals who are concerned about the potential health effects of unconventional natural gas development and production (“fracking”) in Maryland. Concerned Health Professionals of Maryland is a project of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, with the support of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and the Maryland Environmental Health Network and other health professionals concerned about the impacts of fracking.