Health Symptoms and Proximity to Active Multi-Well Unconventional Oil and Gas Development Sites in the City and County of Broomfield, Colorado

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Feb 1;20(3):2634. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20032634.


City and County of Broomfield (CCOB) residents reported over 500 health concerns between January 2020 and December 2021. Our objective was to determine if CCOB residents living within 1 mile of multi-well unconventional oil and gas development (UOGD) sites reported more frequent health symptoms than residents living > 2 miles away. We invited 3993 randomly selected households to participate in a health survey. We applied linear regression to test associations between distance to UOGD and summed Likert scores for health symptom categories. After covariate adjustment, respondents living within 1 mile of one of CCOB's UOGD sites tended to report higher frequencies of upper respiratory, lower respiratory, gastrointestinal and acute symptoms than respondents living more than 2 miles from the sites, with the largest differences for upper respiratory and acute symptoms. For upper respiratory and acute symptoms, scores differed by 0.81 (95% CI: 0.06, 2.58) and 0.75 (95% CI: 0.004, 1.99), respectively. Scores for adults most concerned about air pollution, noise and odors trended higher within 1 mile for all symptom categories, while scores among adults least concerned trended lower. Scores trended higher for lower respiratory, gastrointestinal and acute symptoms in children living within 2 miles of UOGD, after covariate adjustment. We did not observe any difference in the frequency of symptoms reported in unadjusted results. Additional study is necessary to understand relationships between proximity to UOGD and health symptoms.

Keywords: acute exposure symptoms; air pollution; epidemiology; health symptoms; hydraulic fracturing; unconventional oil and gas development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air Pollution*
  • Child
  • Colorado
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Noise

Grants and funding

This study was funded by the City and County of Broomfield.