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Fracking and Public Health in Maryland

University of Maryland research team releases final report on the public health risks of fracking

The University of Maryland’s School of Public Health has released a new report assessing the potential public health impact of fracking, a relatively new process of natural gas extraction that injects a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals under high pressure to break through dense rock to release the trapped gas. Four MPRC faculty associates, Donald Milton, Amir Sapkota, Sacoby Wilson, and Thurka Sangaramoorthy, led the core research team.

In some states, fracking began without doing any long-term studies about its potential impact on the health of local people. As a result, solid data on the subject is difficult to come by. Maryland’s new study ranks air pollution at the top of the list of potential health concerns.

On June 6, 2011, Governor O’Malley issued an executive order establishing the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative. The purpose of the Initiative is to assist regulators in determining whether and how gas production from the Marcellus Shale and other shale formations in Maryland can be accomplished without unacceptable risks of adverse impacts to public health, safety, the environment, and natural resources. The report is publicly available on the project website, and is open to public comment until October 3, 2014.

Read a story about the initiative on NPR

Visit the project website

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