Table of Contents
ISRN Public Health
Volume 2013, Article ID 408658, 5 pages
Review Article

Modern Natural Gas Development and Harm to Health: The Need for Proactive Public Health Policies

1Department of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10065, USA
2Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE), 452 West 57th Street Apt 3E, New York, NY 10019, USA
3Weill Cornell Medical College, Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

Received 22 March 2013; Accepted 24 April 2013

Academic Editors: J. Konde-Lule, A. R. Mawson, and I. Szadkowska-Stanczyk

Copyright © 2013 Madelon L. Finkel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


High-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing of shale formations has the potential to make natural gas a significant, economical energy source, but the potential for harm to human health is often dismissed by proponents of this method. While adverse health outcomes of medical conditions with long latency periods will not be evident for years and will depend on the exposure, duration of exposure, dose, and other factors, we argue that it would be prudent to begin to track and monitor trends in the incidence and prevalence of diseases that already have been shown to be influenced by environmental agents. The dirty downside of modern, unconventional natural gas development, as well as the potential for harm, is discussed.