University of Md. study categorizes public health risks of shale gas drilling in western Md.

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FROSTBURG, Maryland — University of Maryland researchers say there's a high likelihood that shale gas production in far western Maryland would negatively affect air quality in the region.

The report (http://bit.ly/1oKrWGI ) released Monday also found a high likelihood of negative impacts on occupational health and local medical systems due to surging employment in an industry with relatively high risks for respiratory ailments and truck accidents.

The report says there's a moderately high risk that water pollution from hydraulic fracturing would have public health consequences.

It says there's a low risk to public health from earthquakes associated with the injection deep underground of wastewater from the drilling process.

The report is part of the state's effort to ensure that shale gas drilling is done safely in Maryland, if it's allowed at all.

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