US Climate and Health Alliance

Toward an understanding of the environmental and public health impacts of shale gas development: an analysis of the peer reviewed scientific literature, 2009-2015


The present categorical assessment provides an overview of the peer-reviewed scientific literature from 2009–2015 as it relates to the potential impacts of UNGD on public health, water quality, and air quality. Our results indicate that at least 685 papers have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals that are relevant to assessing the impacts of UNGD. 84% of public health studies contain findings that indicate public health hazards, elevated risks, or adverse health outcomes; 69% of water quality studies contain findings that indicate potential, positive association, or actual incidence of water contamination; and 87% of air quality studies contain findings that indicate elevated air pollutant emissions and/or atmospheric concentrations. This paper demonstrates that the weight of the findings in the scientific literature indicates hazards and elevated risks to human health as well as possible adverse health outcomes associated with UNGD.

Resource Type
Peer-reviewed article
Jake Hays Seth B. C. Shonkoff
Resource URL
April 10, 2016
Health and Human Impact
Climate and Environmental Impacts
Air pollution Water
Emission Source
Unconventional energy
Fossil Fuel
Natural gas
Co-benefits/co-harms US policy Policy United states

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