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New Study Links Fracking With Possible Increase in Radon Exposure

April 10, 2015
Public Health

A new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, has concluded that levels of radon within homes in Pennsylvania have increased as the states fracking industry has expanded.

Researchers chose the North Eastern region as it has some of the highest residential radon levels in the USA and a detailed database of measurements. The scientists analysed more than 860,000 radon measurements taken between January 1st 1989 and December 31st 2013 noticing a rising trend from 2004 when fracking began in the state.

Pennsylvania is perched on bedrock that contains large amounts of uranium and radium giving rise to high levels of radon gas. The second largest cause of lung cancer in the world behind smoking, radon exposure leads to 21,000 deaths a year in America, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Aaron Bernstein, a pediatrician and associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard H.T. Chan School of Public Health, told USA Today “There are a tremendous number of poorly understood and potentially serious health risks associated with fracking, one of which is exposure to radioactivity. We simply do not have anything close to adequate safeguards for people’s health.”

Radon levels in the UK are highest in South West England, the Midlands and parts of North Wales. Scientists are now calling on the US Government to initiate further research.

You can download a copy of the study HERE