Fracking associated with elevated radiation levels at nearby sites

The energy production process commonly known as fracking is associated with increased levels of airborne radioactive particles in areas downwind of fracking sites, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study collected data from 157 radiation-monitoring stations across the U.S. between 2001 and 2017, and analyzed the data in relation to the location of more than 100,000 fracking wells in the U.S. Levels of radioactive particles in the air were highest in areas within 12 miles of a well, and the research showed that the radiation levels declined as distance from fracking sites increased.

“The increases are not extremely dangerous, but could raise certain health risks to people living nearby,” lead author Petros Koutrakis, professor of environmental sciences, said in an October 13, 2020 Reuters article. “Our hope is that once we understand the source more clearly, there will be engineering methods to control this.”

Read the Reuters article: Researchers find elevated radiation near U.S. fracking sites