Exposure to pollutants from oil and gar fracking sites linked to brain health problems in children

Multiple pollutants found in the air and water near fracked oil and gas sites are linked to brain problems in children, according to a science review recently published today.

Researchers focused on five types of pollution commonly found near the sites—heavy metals, particulate matter, polycyclic aromatic hydrobcarbons, BTEX and endocrine disrupting compounds—and scrutinized existing health studies of the compounds' impacts to kids' brains.

What they didn't find is as important as what they did find: while more than 1,000 studies have looked at health hazards from unconventional oil and gas drilling, none have focused specifically on the brain health of children near the sites.

"Many of us looking are looking at what's happening now and then we're going to revisit this to see what these exposures are doing to people," said Madelon Finkel, a professor of clinical healthcare policy and research at Weill Cornell Medical College who was not involved in the study.

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