Researchers at the Yale School of Public Health used the Pennsylvania Cancer Registry and their study was published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The study looked at 405 children diagnosed with that particular type of leukemia between 2009 and 2017.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is one of the most common childhood cancers, which is why the researchers chose to look at it. Additionally, a known cause is benzene, a chemical released by oil and gas drilling activities into both air and water. More than 10,000 unconventional natural gas wells were drilled and fracked in Pennsylvania between 2002 and 2017. The DEP has reported more than 1,000 spills in that period, along with fielding about 4,000 residential well water complaints between 2005 and 2014. Many who live in rural areas rely on water from private wells, about one-third of which are within two kilometers of a wellhead.Susan Phillips | StateImpact Pennsylvania | August 17, 2022
“It really is a superb study. It looks at a potential problem in ways that include new exposure metrics, which are really needed.”Dr. Bernard Goldstein, former dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health and an expert in environmental causes of childhood leukemia
“The study also found that drinking water could be an important pathway of exposure to oil and gas-related chemicals. The authors applied a new exposure metric in this study that they call “IDups” (which stands for “inverse distance to the nearest upgradient unconventional oil and gas well”). This means that the researchers identified UOG wells that fell within a child’s watershed area — the zone from which a drinking water well serving their home would likely draw water — and calculated the distance from the home to the nearest of those UOG wells. UOG wells falling within the watershed area are expected to be more likely to impact the home’s drinking water supply, they said.”Yale News | August 17, 2022
MORE: Benzene and Cancer Risk