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Your Environment. Your Health.

BIRTH OUTCOMES IN AREAS OF UNCONVENTIONAL OIL AND GAS DEVELOPMENT: ROLE OF EXPOSURE TO FLARING

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Principal Investigator: Johnston, Jill E
Institute Receiving Award University Of Southern California
Location Los Angeles, CA
Grant Number R21ES028417
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 01 Sep 2017 to 31 Aug 2021
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): PROJECT SUMMARY / ABSTRACT Unconventional extraction technologies, a drive for energy independence, and an ever-growing demand for fossil fuels has led to a surge in domestic oil and gas production in the United States. Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) extraction is associated with emission of various hazardous air pollutants. Flaring (the combustion of petroleum products into the open atmosphere) is a common practice at UOG wells, particularly in areas without natural gas pipelines. There is growing, but still inconsistent, evidence that UOG extraction adversely influences birth outcomes. Existing studies of UOG and birth outcomes have not accounted for flaring activity and been conducted in areas where the population is largely socioeconomically homogenous and predominately non-Hispanic White. This study will fill these gaps in our current knowledge by assessing the potential impact of residential proximity to flaring from UOG wells on the risk of adverse birth outcomes among a diverse population in the Eagle Ford shale region of South Texas. We will develop a novel exposure assessment spatiotemporal model that utilizes satellite imagery to identify the location, duration and intensity of flaring in the Eagle Ford shale play and generates subject- and trimester-specific estimates of exposure to flaring during pregnancy. Using a retrospective cohort study design, we hypothesize that exposure to flaring from UOG wells during pregnancy is associated with lower birth weight and higher incidence of pre-term birth, and that risks may be higher for non-White populations and mothers of low socio-economic status. 
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 28 - Fracking
Publications See publications associated with this Grant.
Program Officer Abee Boyles
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