Study: Living near oil and gas wells linked to low birthweight in babies

The Guardian discusses how living near oil and gas wells linked to low birthweight in babies. The risk is greater in rural areas, according to study of nearly 3 million births over 10 years.

Living near active oil and gas wells during pregnancy increases the risk of low-birthweight babies, especially in rural areas, according to the largest study of its kind.

Researchers analysed the records of nearly 3 million births in California to women living within 6.2 miles (10km) of at least one oil or gas well between 2006 and 2015. It is the first such study to look at birth outcomes in rural and urban areas, and to women living near active and inactive oil and gas sites.

Proximity to a well and the level of production were found to be significantly associated with poor birth outcomes.

The findings, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, add to a growing body of evidence linking proximity to oil and gas wells to a variety of adverse birth outcomes, including premature birthheart defects and low birthweight.

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