Public health risks of shale gas drilling get an airing in far western Md.

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OAKLAND, Maryland — Garrett County residents are getting a chance to hear about the potential public health risks of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in their region.

The local health department is hosting a presentation Thursday night on a study conducted by the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

The study was first presented last month to a state commission that will recommend rules for safe drilling in Maryland's portion of the Marcellus shale formation.

The study found a high likelihood that shale gas production would negatively affect air quality in the region.

The researchers also found a high likelihood that gas production would negatively affect occupational health and local medical systems due to increased employment in an industry with relatively high risks for respiratory ailments and truck accidents.

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