Well, bad news. The first research into the effects of oil and gas development on babies born near wells has found potential health risks. Government officials, industry advocates and the researchers themselves say more studies are needed before drawing conclusions.
The study wasn't conclusive because it didn't account for different types of wells, water quality, mothers' behavior or genetics, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in an e-mailed statement. The state's oil and gas rules are the most stringent in the nation, said Larry Wolk, the department's director and chief medical officer.
"It's way too early to jump to conclusions," Sgamma said. "It's a real big leap that I don't think you can draw at this time at all, if ever, to say that because air pollution can cause birth defects, that's exactly what's happening."
Two Pennsylvania studies, however, found increases in low birth weight near gas drilling. They haven't been published in peer-reviewed journals.