Fracking and Indoor Radon: Spurious Correlation or Cause for Concern?
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management
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Unconventional gas development (fracking) is controversial in large part because of environmental and health concerns. We consider the concern that fracking leads to more carcinogenic radon gas in nearby buildings. Our empirical approach estimates treatment effects where treatment is continuous (number of wells) and varies in intensity (distance to the wells) and in duration of exposure (the time since wells were drilled). The approach allows any potential effect of fracking to vary non-linearly with the distance between the well and test site and, holding distance constant, the time between drilling and testing. Our main model gives a precisely estimated zero effect of wells on radon concentrations in nearby buildings. It also reveals that energy firms drilled wells in places with higher pre-existing radon levels, which, if ignored, makes it appear that wells within 2 km increase indoor radon but wells 3 km away do not. This explains the finding of a prior study showing a link between drilling and indoor radon.
Fracking; Health; Radon; Pennsylvania
Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Indicators and Impact Assessment | Environmental Monitoring | Geology | Oil, Gas, and Energy
Black, K. J.,
McCoy, S. J.,
Weber, J. G.
Fracking and Indoor Radon: Spurious Correlation or Cause for Concern?.
Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 96