High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing and Human Health Outcomes: A Scoping Review

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Abstract

Objective:

Examine extent of peer-reviewed literature exploring human health effects of hydraulic fracturing (HVHF).

Methods:

A scoping review methodology was used to examine peer-reviewed studies published from 2000 through 2017 that empirically examine direct health impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

Results:

Through September 2017, only 18 studies were found published in peer-reviewed journals that met our requirements for inclusion in the review. Most of these studies resulted in positive or mixed findings of health outcomes.

Conclusions:

The paucity of studies reflects the difficulty in drawing direct connections between HVHF and human health outcomes. Many health outcomes may take years to emerge, exposure often occurs in lightly populated rural areas with older, poorer, and sicker residents, and diagnosis is difficult without physician knowledge of prior exposure. Primary care providers should record thorough histories to help guide future treatment.

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