By: KDKA-TV News Staff
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Pitt has been awarded a $2.5 million contract to research the potential health effects of fracking in Pennsylvania.
The Wolf administration announced the contract with the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health Tuesday.
"We are pleased to announce that we have chosen a partner to assist us in researching the health effects of hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania," Gov. Wolf said in a release.
"My administration is committed to ensuring that Pennsylvania is a healthy, vibrant place for all who call it home. We look forward to the invaluable research that will be done by the University of Pittsburgh and the information it will provide for the commonwealth."
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Earlier this year, the Pennsylvania Department of Health published a four-county report on the number of Ewing's Family of Tumors, cases of childhood cancer and total cancer cases in Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
Dozens of children and young adults have been diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma and other forms of cancer in the four-county region. There's no known environmental cause, but families have pressed the Wolf administration for an investigation.
"We have heard the concerns from families and community members impacted by cancer and other health issues in the southwestern part of the state, and we are dedicated to taking the proper steps to keep our residents healthy," Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a release.
"We are committed to a healthy Pennsylvania for all and efforts that prevent injury and disease in the state. This essential research project is a testament to that."
Pitt Public Health will conduct two observational epidemiological studies focusing on the known or suspected health effects of hydraulic fracking, with the goal to complete both studies within two years.
Marcellus Shale Coalition president David Spigelmyer said in a statement, "The protection of health and safety – for the communities where we're privileged to operate and for our dedicated workforce – is our industry's top commitment and focus every single day. We understand these complex and emotional issues have raised important questions and while the Wolf administration has limited the scope of the research, we look forward to continuing to work collaboratively as this work gets underway given the priority we place on our communities."
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