Massive amounts of radioactive waste brought to the surface by oil and gas wells have overwhelmed the industry and the state and federal agencies that regulate it, according to a report released today by the prominent environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. The waste poses “significant health threats,” including the increased risk of cancer to oil and gas workers and their families and also nearby communities.
“We know that the waste has radioactive elements, we know that it can have very high and dangerous levels, we know that some of the waste gets into the environment, and we know that people who live or work near various oil and gas sites are exposed to the waste. What we don’t know are the full extent of the health impacts,” says Amy Mall, an analyst with NRDC who has been researching oilfield waste for 15 years and is a co-author on the report.
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