Hospitals to study health effects tied to Marcellus Shale drilling

Written by The Associated Press | Aug 21, 2012 6:46 PM

(Elmira, NY) — Two Pennsylvania-based health systems plan to tap the electronic records of their patients to study possible effects of living near gas wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale region.

The Elmira Star-Gazette reports that Guthrie Health of Sayre and Geisinger Health Systems of Danville are in the early stages of planning the research into how people might be affected by wells, some using hydraulic fracturing. The technology known as "fracking" involves pumping large volumes of water and chemicals into the ground to free gas.

The organizations said Monday that asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer may be among the first things studied.

They're now working on a budget and how to pay for the project.

Guthrie also operates hospitals in New York's Southern Tier, where the state is considering allowing fracking.

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