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New Study Questions Cancer Rates Following Gas Drilling in Texas Town

A new study by a researcher with the University of Texas at Austin questions whether current gas drilling in Flower Mound, Texas, raises incidence of cancer in residents.

The researcher, Rachael Rawlins, criticizes a Texas Department of State Health study from 2010 that found no link between cancer rates and gas drilling in the town. Rawlins said there isn’t enough information yet to dismiss concerns about cancer in the town, reports the Dallas Morning News. A spokesperson for the department of health said the cancer investigation by the agency was formulated to discover whether cancer rates are higher in a given area, not to determine the cause of cancer.

The new report also discussed pollutants released during the fracking process. The Dallas Business Journal writes that concerns about methane releases have been mentioned in previous studies. Flower Mound has been monitoring its air on a monthly basis.

The Flower Mound study on the health effects of gas drilling was conducted after cancer-causing benzene was found in the air around some of the drilling sites. The town has 15 active drilling pad sites; no new pad sites have been approved since 2010.

Rawlins says that claims of the health effects of drilling have been dismissed as anecdotal evidence, but she believes there is not yet enough information to dismiss concerns.

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