Thursday, June 13th, 2013
Radon's Link to Fracking
Fracking is a hot botton issue right now. There have been a large number of grassroots movements trying to halt the expansion of this already widely practiced and lucrative energy industry method of deep well mining. Many fear there is not enough research being done on the negative health and environmental consequences of fracking. Exposure to radon is seen as one of the major risks of fracking. And now political leaders are beginning to echo this concern and legislation is starting to be introduced to protect citizens from dangerous levels of radon exposure.
Rosenthal Launches Radon Bill.
New York City is at the center of a huge debate over the radon risk from fracked natural gas. The very vocal Sane Energy Project (http://www.saneenergyproject.org) brought this concern to Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal, when the Spectra pipeline was being built in 2012-13. Now operational, the pipeline brings natural gas to the city from the Marcellus shale, in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Opponents contend that this source of natural gas contains unhealthy high levels of radioactivity and radon, which are released into a home's air when residents use their furnace, dryer and kitchen stove. The Sane Energy Project lauds this bill as a first step in the right direction, arguing that no government agency has previously taken steps to prevent an increased radon risk from fracked gas.
Rosenthal’s radon bill, A6863, takes the emphasis off the fracking debate and how and where the gas is sourced and puts the responsibility on energy providers to require them to monitor the levels of radon in the energy they supply to residents. The Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club has recently voice their support of this bill, urging residents to call their representatives in support of the bill.
Radon Risk in Pennsylvania from Fracking?
A study published in 2013 in Environmental Science and Technology showed a rise in naturally occurring radiation in Blacklick Creek, which flows into the Allegheny River. Radium, which decays into radon, was found at levels 200 above normal. The obvious link here was the wastewater treatment facility, less than 50 miles away which handles wastewater from drilling and fracking.
This study, the first of its kind, validates concerns that radioactive elements such as radium and radon will bio-accumulate in water sources and aquatic life, contaminate wells and make drinking water unsafe.
The EPA is currently in the process of developing new standards for disposing of gas drilling waste. Fracking uses so many millions of gallons of water, most of which comes back to the surface contaminated and requiring treatment, new methods may need to be put in place to protect communities from harmful elements like radon.
Builders, homeowners and renters seeking more information on Radon Testing and Radon Mitigation should contact a certified radon specialist. Next Step Environmental Services LLC is an excellent resource for self-testing materials, professional inspections and effective and economical remediation.