Fracking and radon

October 7, 2011 

Stanford Baird's Sept. 17 Point of View article "No reason to fear 'fracking' " omitted a major pollutant - radiation.

The shale in Pennsylvania sits in the same location as the "Reading Prong," which is a known, natural source of radioactive radon gas. This is a natural condition and has been well known for over 30 years. Whether above or below the gas-bearing shale, the fracking provides pathways to the water supplies and surface that did not already exist.

This knowledge preceded 99-plus percent of the fracking wells, yet the industry chose to go ahead with fracking. Until very recently, there were no industry waste recovery sites capable of dealing with this contamination and no requirement to do so. There is currently no economical way to remove radon from well water. At least the methane can be burned off at the tap.

The desire to frack in North Carolina should be carefully weighed against the natural chemicals and elements in the rock and soil above and below the gas-bearing material.

Not all energy sources can be economically recovered when even "minor" safety issues need to be addressed.

Thomas Magnani,


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