Assessment and longitudinal analysis of health impacts and stressors perceived to result from unconventional shale gas development in the Marcellus Shale region

Int J Occup Environ Health. 2013 Apr-Jun;19(2):104-12. doi: 10.1179/2049396713Y.0000000024.


Introduction: Concerns for health and social impacts have arisen as a result of Marcellus Shale unconventional natural gas development. Our goal was to document the self-reported health impacts and mental and physical health stressors perceived to result from Marcellus Shale development.

Methods: Two sets of interviews were conducted with a convenience sample of community members living proximal to Marcellus Shale development, session 1 March-September 2010 (n = 33) and session 2 January-April 2012 (n = 20). Symptoms of health impacts and sources of psychological stress were coded. Symptom and stressor counts were quantified for each interview. The counts for each participant were compared longitudinally.

Results: Participants attributed 59 unique health impacts and 13 stressors to Marcellus Shale development. Stress was the most frequently-reported symptom. Over time, perceived health impacts increased (P = 0·042), while stressors remained constant (P = 0·855).

Discussion: Exposure-based epidemiological studies are needed to address identified health impacts and those that may develop as unconventional natural gas extraction continues. Many of the stressors can be addressed immediately.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Extraction and Processing Industry*
  • Female
  • Health Impact Assessment / methods*
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Natural Gas*
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Stress, Physiological
  • Stress, Psychological / epidemiology


  • Natural Gas