NEW YORK A Pennsylvania
healthcare organization plans to conduct a $1-million study on
the potential health effects of Marcellus shale gas
The study will be the first
"large-scale, scientifically rigorous assessment" of the health
effects of natural gas drilling, according to Danville,
Pa.-based Geisinger Health System.
"The establishment of reliable
and valid data regarding the potential health impacts of
Marcellus shale gas drilling is essential for informed policy
decisions," Geisinger president and chief executive officer
Glenn D. Steele said.
The study will look at the
health histories of hundreds of thousands of patients who live
near the shale, in which about 5,000 natural gas wells have so
far been drilled.
It will focus on medical issues
such as asthma, trauma and cardiovascular disease, with
preliminary results expected within the next year. Longer-term
research projects "will unfold over five, 10 or 20 years,"
The study will be funded by a grant from the Sunbury,
Pa.-based Degenstein Foundation.