THE TYEE 11-16-2017

Nov 16, 2017

‘Red Flag’ Raised: Study Finds Possible Fracking Risk to Pregnant BC Women

Researchers found markers suggested benzene levels 3.5 times normal levels for women in northeast.

By Andrew Nikiforuk 16 Nov 2017 |


fracking.jpg More research is needed to assess the health risks to pregnant women from fracking, study found. Photo from EcoFlight

A small pilot study by researchers from the Université de Montréal has raised red flags about pregnant women’s exposure to benzene in intensely fracked areas of northeastern B.C

The study found that the median level of muconic acid in urine samples from 29 pregnant women in the region was 3.5 times higher than the general Canadian population. Muconic acid is a common bio-marker of benzene exposure.

“Prenatal exposure to low environmental levels of benzene or a mixture of organic solvents has been associated with reduced birth weight, increased risk of childhood leukemia and birth defects such as cleft palate and spina bifida,” the researchers note.

Benzene is also one of many contaminants that can be emitted during drilling, fracking or flaring of waste gas from thousands of oil and gas sites.