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High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing and Human Health Outcomes: A Scoping Review

Wright, Rosemary, PhD; Muma, Richard, D., PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 5 - p 424–429
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001278

Objective: Examine extent of peer-reviewed literature exploring human health effects of hydraulic fracturing (HVHF).

Methods: A scoping review methodology was used to examine peer-reviewed studies published from 2000 through 2017 that empirically examine direct health impacts of hydraulic fracturing.

Results: Through September 2017, only 18 studies were found published in peer-reviewed journals that met our requirements for inclusion in the review. Most of these studies resulted in positive or mixed findings of health outcomes.

Conclusions: The paucity of studies reflects the difficulty in drawing direct connections between HVHF and human health outcomes. Many health outcomes may take years to emerge, exposure often occurs in lightly populated rural areas with older, poorer, and sicker residents, and diagnosis is difficult without physician knowledge of prior exposure. Primary care providers should record thorough histories to help guide future treatment.

Regional Institute on Aging (Dr Wright); and Office of Academic Affairs (Dr Muma), Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas.

Address correspondence to: Rosemary Wright, PhD, Regional Institute on Aging, Wichita State University, 1845 Fairmount, Wichita, KS 67260-0013 (

Funding sources: No funding was received to conduct this research.

Other sources of support: None.

Authors Wright, and Muma have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Supplemental digital contents are available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine