Oil and gas infrastructure is putting unborn children at risk.
That’s according to a new study from the University of Colorado, which suggests pregnant women living in close proximity to gas wells and oil refineries could have between a 40% and 70% greater chance of giving birth to babies with congenital heart defects due to hazardous air pollutants.
The study, which included more than 3,300 infants born in Colorado between 2005 and 2011, found children born near areas with concentrated oil and gas activity had a higher risk of aortic artery, conotruncal, tricuspid valve and other heart defects.
This research follows an earlier study that showed a link between health risks and the frequency of gas wells.
Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the US.
Researchers said: “This study provides further evidence of a positive association between maternal proximity to oil and gas well site activities and several types of congenital heart defects.
“Taken together, our results and expanding development of oil and gas well sites underscore the importance of continuing to conduct comprehensive and rigorous research on health consequences of early life exposure to oil and gas activities.”