A multi-year study by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has found there is a low risk of radiation exposure related to Pennsylvania shale gas development. The report was publicized in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The peer-reviewed report analyzed naturally occurring radioactive material, or NORM, present in the deep shale and other rock formations where oil and gas drilling occurs. The material is transported to the surface with drill cuttings and flowback water associated with gas and oil drilling.
Vince Brisini, DEP deputy secretary for waste, air, radiation and remediation, said in a news release announcing the study findings last week that it was comprehensive and provides data to inform the management of natural gas resources and resultant wastes for environmental and health protection.
ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: Those opposed to high volume hydraulic fracturing of shale fracking are from one or both of two camps: the so-called environmentalists whose real motivations are to reduce or eliminate all use of fossil fuels by any means necessary and have us resort to sustainable wind and sun; or the NIMBY folks whose multi-million dollar estates in upstate New York were potentially threatened by gas drilling in the Marcellus shale region. The latter include Yoko Ono and her coterie of entertainment moguls and propagandists like Gasland s Josh Fox. The alleged concerns deal with water and air pollution and vague health effects. None of these fears has been shown to be caused by the HVHF process itself, but that won t stop the fractivists campaigns. At least toxic levels of radiation may not be mentioned too often in the future as if science and evidence had anything to do with this anyway.
For those who wish to read a peer-reviewed analysis of HVHF, please see ACSH's publication here.