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Drinking water, fracking, and infant health

Elaine Hill and Lala Ma

Journal of Health Economics, 2022, vol. 82, issue C

Abstract: This study assesses the health risks associated with drinking water contamination using variation in the timing and location of shale gas development (SGD). Our novel dataset, linking health and drinking water outcomes to shale gas activity through water sources, enables us to provide new estimates of the causal effects of water pollution on health and to isolate drinking water as a specific mechanism of exposure for SGD. We find consistent and robust evidence that drilling shale gas wells negatively impacts both drinking water quality and infant health. These results indicate large social costs of water pollution and provide impetus for re-visiting the regulation of public drinking water.

Keywords: Shale gas development; Drinking water; Infant health; Fracking; Community water systems; Ground water (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2022.102595

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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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