Issue Brief

The Health Impacts of the Shale Revolution

Jan 31, 2018 | Daniel Raimi

Summary

The shale revolution has dramatically increased drilling activity in both densely and sparsely populated regions of the United States, raising concerns over the health risks of living near oil and gas production sites.

Key Findings

  • Living near oil and gas production has the potential to damage human health.
  • Research on whether this potential has been realized is limited to date.
  • Higher-quality studies suggest some health risks for those living within 1 kilometer of new wells, but the specific cause (such as air emissions or stress) of these impacts is unclear.
  • The displacement of coal by natural gas has had large and more diffuse public health benefits.