Drinking water, fracking, and infant health

Elaine L. Hill, Lala Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study assesses the health risks associated with drinking water contamination using variation in the timing and location of shale gas development (SGD). Our novel dataset, linking health and drinking water outcomes to shale gas activity through water sources, enables us to provide new estimates of the causal effects of water pollution on health and to isolate drinking water as a specific mechanism of exposure for SGD. We find consistent and robust evidence that drilling shale gas wells negatively impacts both drinking water quality and infant health. These results indicate large social costs of water pollution and provide impetus for re-visiting the regulation of public drinking water.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102595
JournalJournal of Health Economics
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Community water systems
  • Drinking water
  • Fracking
  • Ground water
  • Infant health
  • Shale gas development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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