NEW YORK A Pennsylvania healthcare organization plans to conduct a $1-million study on the potential health effects of Marcellus shale gas drilling.
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," Geisinger said.
The study will be funded by a grant from the Sunbury, Pa.-based Degenstein Foundation.