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Perinatal outcomes and unconventional natural gas operations in Southwest Pennsylvania

Stacy, SL and Brink, LAL and Larkin, JC and Sadovsky, Y and Goldstein, BD and Pitt, BR and Talbott, EO (2015) Perinatal outcomes and unconventional natural gas operations in Southwest Pennsylvania. PLoS ONE, 10 (6).

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Unconventional gas drilling (UGD) has enabled extraordinarily rapid growth in the extraction of natural gas. Despite frequently expressed public concern, human health studies have not kept pace. We investigated the association of proximity to UGD in the Marcellus Shale formation and perinatal outcomes in a retrospective cohort study of 15,451 live births in Southwest Pennsylvania from 2007-2010. Mothers were categorized into exposure quartiles based on inverse distance weighted (IDW) well count; least exposed mothers (first quartile) had an IDW well count less than 0.87 wells per mile, while the most exposed (fourth quartile) had 6.00 wells or greater per mile. Multivariate linear (birth weight) or logistical (small for gestational age (SGA) and prematurity) regression analyses, accounting for differences in maternal and child risk factors, were performed. There was no significant association of proximity and density of UGD with prematurity. Comparison of the most to least exposed, however, revealed lower birth weight (3323 ± 558 vs 3344 ± 544 g) and a higher incidence of SGA (6.5 vs 4.8%, respectively; odds ratio: 1.34; 95% confidence interval: 1.10-1.63). While the clinical significance of the differences in birth weight among the exposure groups is unclear, the present findings further emphasize the need for larger studies, in regio-specific fashion, with more precise characterization of exposure over an extended period of time to evaluate the potential public health significance of UGD.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Stacy, SLsls294@pitt.eduSLS157
Brink, LAL
Larkin, JCjcl56@pitt.eduJCL56
Sadovsky, Yyoel.sadovsky@pitt.eduYOS14
Goldstein, BDbdgold@pitt.eduBDGOLD
Pitt, BRbrucep@pitt.eduBRUCEP
Talbott, EOeot1@pitt.eduEOT1
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Magee-Women's Research Institute
Date: 3 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 10
Number: 6
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.1371/journal.pone.0126425
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Environmental and Occupational Health
School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2016 14:11
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2023 10:55


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