The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) openly acknowledges that fracking fluid contains “thousands of chemicals”, but nowhere is there mention of radioactivity in its risk assessments. Now, a new study reveals the “natural gas” industry may be hiding a secret as dark and deadly as the one the nuclear industry has been trying to conceal for decades.
Following recent news that California’s fracking industry will be “repurposing” its toxic wastewater to meet the needs of anagricultural industry driven desperate by the drought, a timely new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives reveals that fracking wastewater is not just a source of dangerous petrochemicals but also a highly toxic form of radioactive waste.
Titled “What’s NORMal for Fracking? Estimating Total Radioactivity of Produced Fluids“, the new study tested the hypothesis that fracking wastewater contains the same naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) found in the shale deposits that it is produced from as a drilling byproduct. The primary radionuclides of interest include 226radium,210polonium, and 210lead, which are decay products of 238uranium and 228thorium, and which are normally safely locked away deep within millions of years old geological formations.