ELMIRA, N.Y. (AP) - Two Pennsylvania-based health systems plan to tap the electronic records of their patients to study possible effects of living near gas wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale region.
Guthrie Health of Sayre and Geisinger Health Systems of Danville are in the early stages of planning the research into how people might be affected by wells, some which use hydraulic fracturing, the Elmira Star-Gazette reported. The technology involves pumping large volumes of water and chemicals into the ground to free gas.
The organizations said Monday that asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer may be among the first things studied. They are now working on a budget and how to pay for the project.
In the spring, Pennsylvania lawmakers eliminated $2 million of funding that included a statewide health registry to track respiratory problems, skin conditions, stomach ailments and other illnesses potentially related to gas drilling.
Some results of the new collaboration could be available within a year, with other elements of the study playing out over years, the companies said.
The Marcellus Shale covers large parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia.