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Should we risk Babies and their Mums?

40% increase in pre-term babies and 30% more likely to have complicated pregnancies

40% increase in pre-term babies and 30% more likely to have complicated pregnancies

In a detailed study from one of the worlds best centres – Johns Hopkins, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Professor Brian Schwartz and others looked at the effects on mothers and babies from living near to fracking fields. They looked at 9,384 mothers and 10,946 newborn babies. They checked how far they had been from fracking wells and for how long. They also looked at the activities at the close-by wells to discover if there had been drilling, a frack or other key points in the life of a well. There were other aspects of the work to try to ensure a useful and reliable conclusion could be drawn. They found that there was an association with living near fracking wells and the outcomes of the pregnancies. The mothers were 40% more likely to have babies born before 37 weeks and they were 30% more likely to have complicated pregnancies. There was no attempt to determine what the route of impact was nor measure gas, water or other contamination. It is a complex work and not easy to read but comes from a gold-standard group, it was a peer reviewed article in one of the best science journals- Epidemiology.
We need to do good science. The Government then needs to look at it. They then need to consider how much risk they are prepared to take and how much we are expected to put up with when we live in a Sacrifice Zone. The initiative seems to be all about getting money into the Treasury and achieving other more nebulous ambitions. Should the government be knowingly putting mothers and babies at risk? Are they accounting for the cost of a handicapped child with hospitalisations, special care and support though its life as well as a host of other considerations?

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