Research: Marcellus Frack Wastewater More Radioactive than Thought

A study published in April reportedly concludes that fracking wastewater may be “more radioactive than researchers previously believed.” The study, titled “Understanding the Radioactive Ingrowth and Decay of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials in the Environment: An Analysis of Produced Fluids from the Marcellus Shale” (full copy below) was published in the peer reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives. In a nutshell, the study says previous looks at the “you’ll glow in the dark, you’re all getting irradiated” issue has only looked at the presence of radium in frack wastewater. The researchers say that in order to judge the true radioactivity of frack wastewater you need to consider the isotopes that radium and radon breaks down into hours, days, weeks, months and years later–especially in closed tanks. And when you do, the authors say the level of radiation people (and the environment) is exposed to goes much higher that previously thought. Is this the smoking gun? Here’s MDN’s layman’s perspective on this new study…

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