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2 Pa.-based health systems plan gas drilling study

Two Pennsylvania-based health systems plan to tap the electronic records of their patients to study possible effects of living near gas wells drilled in the Marcellus Shale region. WAMC’s Dave Lucas reports.

The Elmira Star-Gazette reports Guthrie Health and Geisinger Health Systems are in the early stages of planning the research into how people might be affected by wells, some using hydraulic fracturing. The technology known as "fracking" involves pumping large volumes of water and chemicals into the ground to free gas.

The organizations said Monday that asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer may be among the first things studied.

They're now working on a budget and how to pay for the project.

Guthrie also operates hospitals in New York's Southern Tier, where the state is considering allowing fracking.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.