Press Release: Risk of Asthma Attacks Significantly Higher Among Patients Living Near Drilling and Fracking Operations

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Risk of Asthma Attacks Significantly Higher Among Patients Living Near Drilling and Fracking Operations

A new study by Johns Hopkins University researchers links fracking operations in Pennsylvania to increases in asthma attacks 

Baltimore, MD – Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine linking asthma attacks and proximity to drilling and fracking operations.

The analysis included more than 35,000 asthma patients ranging in age from five to ninety years old who live in the heavily fracked state of Pennsylvania. The study found that asthma attacks were 1.5-4 times more likely among asthma patients living closer to drilling and fracking operations than among asthma patients living farther away.

This study was published on the same day public comments were due on recently released issue papers from the Maryland Department of the Environment as they prepared to release regulations for fracking in Maryland. Evidence of the adverse health outcomes continue to mount where fracking is occurring.

“Asthma has an enormous impact on the quality of life of the over 24 million people in the United States with this disease. The total cost of treating asthma in the United States is over $60 billion annually and over $1 billion annually in Maryland, not including lost pay from missed work and school days,” said Lois Wessel, a family nurse practitioner with the Mid-Atlantic Center on Children’s Health and the Environment. “Healthcare providers continue to look at ways to decrease the impacts of asthma on our society. As this study highlights, continuing to keep fracking out of Maryland should be part of the public health agenda to reduce asthma’s toll in our communities.”

With only one legislative session left before the moratorium expires in Maryland, legislators must prevent fracking from beginning in our state. No regulatory framework has been shown to adequately protect public health.

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Concerned Health Professionals of Maryland is a project of Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility (Chesapeake PSR), with the support of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and the Maryland Environmental Health Network and other health professionals concerned about the health impacts of fracking.

Available for interview: Katie Huffling, RN, MS, CNM, Director of Programs, Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

(240) 753-3729,