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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 John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' 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-CortezHillicon Valley: Threatening emails raise election concerns | Quibi folds after raising nearly B | Trump signs law making it a crime to hack voting systems Ocasio-Cortez draws hundreds of thousands of viewers on Twitch livestream OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Democrats push expansion of offshore wind, block offshore drilling with ocean energy bill | Poll: Two-thirds of voters support Biden climate plan | Biden plan lags Green New Deal in fighting emissions from homes MORE (D-N.Y.) and Darren SotoDarren Michael SotoRadiation elevated at fracking sites, researchers find Hopes for DC, Puerto Rico statehood rise Florida Democrat introduces bill to recognize Puerto Rico statehood referendum MORE (D-Fla.).

Democratic presidential candidate Joe BidenJoe BidenMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' 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.