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Radiation elevated at fracking sites, researchers find

Radiation elevated at fracking sites, researchers find
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Researchers at Harvard released a new study Tuesday showing elevated radiation levels at fracking sites, saying the concerning levels could pose health risks to residents in the adjacent area.

The study was published in the journal Nature and details how the controversial hydraulic fracturing drilling sites are registering radiation levels above normal background levels, Reuters reported.

Sites within 12 miles downwind of 100 fracking wells were found to have radiation levels that are about 7 percent above normal background levels, according to the study.

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Harvard researchers analyzed thousands of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s radiation monitor readings nationwide from 2001 to 2017 for its data.

The study added that readings could ascend much higher in areas closer to drilling sites or locations with higher concentrations of fracking wells.

“The increases are not extremely dangerous, but could raise certain health risks to people living nearby,” said the study’s lead author, Petros Koutrakis.

Koutrakis said the source of radiation is likely naturally occurring radioactive material brought to the surface by the high-pressure water pumps used to break down shale formations.

According to the study, the most significant increases in radiation levels occurred in Pennsylvania and Ohio, which have higher concentrations of naturally occurring radioactive material, compared to Texas and New Mexico, which registered lower readings.

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Near conventional drilling operations, the study saw fewer increases in particle radiation levels.

Koutrakis said the study was conducted to determine whether radiation was released during the drilling process, adding, “Our hope is that once we understand the source more clearly, there will be engineering methods to control this."

President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE has lauded fracking for its economic benefits, allowing the U.S. to grow as one of the most significant oil and gas producers globally.

Still, the method of fracking is concerning to many environmental advocacy organizations and has been the subject of a proposed national fracking ban by Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate New York AG sues NYPD over excessive force at Black Lives Matter protests Pressley's chief of staff said her office's panic buttons 'had been torn out' before Capitol riot MORE (D-N.Y.) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoER doctor chosen to lead Hispanic Caucus House Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education Radiation elevated at fracking sites, researchers find MORE (D-Fla.).

Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE has vowed to continue allowing fracking if elected, though runs a stiff battle between appeasing his base on environmental issues and allowing the industry to remain.