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DEP Announces Comprehensive Oil and Gas Development Radiation Study

At the direction of Governor Corbett, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today it will undertake a study to look at naturally occurring levels of radioactivity in by-products associated with oil and natural gas development.

In the coming weeks, DEP will seek a peer review of its study plan and begin to sample and analyze the naturally occurring radioactivity levels in flowback waters, treatment solids and drill cuttings, as well as associated matters such as the transportation, storage and disposal of drilling wastes.

DEP routinely reviews radioactivity data in wastes the oil and natural gas industry and other industries generate, and the information the agency has obtained to date indicates very low levels of natural radioactivity. This study, which is expected to take 12 to 14 months, is aimed at ensuring that public health and the environment continue to be protected.

New Radon Numbers Highlight Portland-Area Health Risks

New estimates of radon risks across Oregon underscore the need for homeowners to test for the presence of the odorless, invisible radioactive gas, researchers say.

The update, released this week, suggests that one in every four houses in the Portland area accumulates radon above the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says should prompt fixes to keep the gas outdoors.

That's double the national average, said Scott Burns, a Portland State University geology professor who worked with five students to compile radon tests from homes and businesses statewide.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States after smoking, EPA estimates, and the leading cause among non-smokers.

Wright County Public Health Department Offers Radon Gas-Testing Kits At Discounted Rate

Thousands of Minnesota homes have potentially harmful levels of radon gas — the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.

You can't see it or smell it, but now, you can test for it in your home with a radon test kit. The Wright County Public Health Department will be offering kits at a reduced cost of $3 until the end of January, or as supplies last.

The "short-term kit" gives the quickest results possible — it has to be placed in the home for three to seven days. The results show whether there are levels of the radioactive gas, which continuously decays and releases radition. The radiation enters the body and can cause cancer.

Kits are availabe at Wright County Human Services, 1004 Commercial Drive in Buffalo. They are also available from the Wright County Wellness on Wheels (WOW) van. Residents can also mail a check to the deparment's address above for a kit to be mailed.

Growing Environmental Crisis in Louisiana

Growing Environmental Crisis in Louisiana

Radiation released from sinkhole 15 times safe levels says expert

A widening sinkhole in the tiny Louisiana town of Bayou Corne - about an hour west of New Orleans - is releasing dangerous levels of radiation. The situation grows more hazardous with the approach of Hurricane Isaac.

State air quality sampling has shown the site is releasing a variety of toxins into the air including benzene, toluene and ethylbenzene.

These chemicals frequently occur together at toxic waste sites.

The sinkhole, caused by a failed salt cavern, appeared on August 4 and quickly revealed a pit of toxic slurry. The hole is now the size of three football fields and still growing.

An expert in the health risks of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) says the situation is serious. Stanley Waligora is calling for more testing to make sure radium isn’t leaking into groundwater that could endanger human health and that of livestock.

Radon Gas Deadlier Than Thought: Radioactive Substance Causes 16% of Lung Cancer Cases, Health Canada Says

Radon Gas Deadlier Than Thought: Radioactive Substance Causes 16% of Lung Cancer Cases, Health Canada Says

Radon seeping invisibly into some Canadian homes causes hundreds more lung-cancer deaths a year than previously thought, a Health Canada study based on a recent testing blitz has concluded.

The department has almost doubled the estimated risk posed by the radioactive gas, saying it likely accounts for 16% of lung cancer cases, up from the 10% estimate that had been accepted for decades.

About 3,200 Canadians a year likely die because of exposure to radon, produced naturally when uranium in the soil degrades, say the study authors. Efforts to reduce radon levels need to be stepped up, they urge in a paper appearing in the journal Radiation Protection Dosimetry.

Enviro Chips to Avoid Harmful Radiation from Mobiles, PCs

Mobile phones, computers and even granite in your kitchens emit varying amounts of radiation and people should take steps to fend off its harmful effect from long exposures, says Ajay Poddar of radiation management firm Synergy Environics. While there are many studies, which lay out the harmful effects of radiation emanated by mobile phones, personal computers, the use of these devices have become essential to a normal day functioning in urban life -- so the solution lies in mitigation.

"All we are saying is you can take steps to avoid the consequences of prolonged exposure to the radiation," Poddar, a civil engineer from IIT-Delhi and someone who has provided radiation management solutions to many sectors, told IANS.

"The consequence of consistent exposure to harmful radiation has different effects on a person. Somebody may have a weak heart, or a stomach ailment, which can get amplified. We measure radiation by gauging the stress level in the person.

Japanese Physicist Publishes Fukushima Radiation Records

Japanese Physicist Publishes Fukushima Radiation Records

Today, an insight into the conditions in the region surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant soon after the magnitude 9 earthquake and resultant tsunami which caused the reactors to explode.

Fukushima Medical University sits some 60 kilometres northwest of the power station. In the run up to the accident, a physicist at the university, Tsuneo Konayashi, had been measuring the background levels of gamma radiation, the numbers of secondary particles from cosmic ray impacts and the amount of radon in the atmosphere.

So when the accident struck, Konayashi and his colleagues were in a good position to measure exactly how things changed.

First, the background levels of gamma radiation changed little immediately after the earthquake but then spiked, reaching 9.3 times the usual levels on 16 March, five days after the quake and just hours after a hydrogen explosion occurred at the plant That's a level of 11.9 micro Seiverts per hour.

Irish Medical Times: Health Threats from Radon Radiation

Irish Medical Times: Health Threats from Radon Radiation

Stephanie Long and Dr Éamann Breatnach examine the problems caused by exposure to high levels of radon radiation and ways to address the issue.

The Irish population is constantly exposed to ionising radiation of both natural and man-made origins. Natural radiation comes from long-lived radionuclides present in the earth’s crust since the formation of the planet and from outer space. For most people, by far the greatest source of exposure is from naturally-occurring radiation.

The largest source of natural radiation is radon gas, which accounts for 56 per cent of the radiation dose received by the Irish population. Radon gas is also the exposure pathway where the greatest reduction is possible. Most other pathways either make a much smaller contribution to the dose or are not amenable to control.

This article compares the radiation dose received by the Irish population from radon with that received from other sources and explains how exposure to radon can be reduced.

Radon: Is Your Home Trapping Radiation?

Radon is on the EPA's top ten list of household pollutants. A relatively unknown pollutant, the testing is relatively inexpensive.

Some of most dangerous pollutants inside your home are invisible to the senses and their affect on your health can be cumulative, slowly contributing to poorer health over months or years. Radon is principle among them.

Most of us know little about what radon is, much less the dangers it can represent. In short, radon is radioactive gas that enters your home through the soil and water underground. Radon gas comes from the natural decay of uranium found in the Earth’s soil.

You can’t see, smell or taste radon. Radon can enter your home through cracks in your foundation, gaps around service pipes or suspended floors, cavities in walls, or the water supply. Radon gas can be found in buildings throughout the United States, indicating a need for testing in all areas.

A Matter of Risk: Radiation, Drinking Water and Deception

It's the water you drink, clean in and pay for. It's the water you rely on, because you have to have it.

For the past year the KHOU 11 News I-Team has been investigating the quality of the tap water in Texas.

What they found was surprising: That many of the states' communities have a real problem with radioactive contamination in their local drinking water.

However, the team also discovered that many of those consuming it didn't know they were also being exposed to a health risk.

With these latest discoveries, KHOU 11 News is presenting Investigative Reporter Mark Greenblatt’s findings in a comprehensive one-hour special.

In the program (seen in the five parts below), you'll find out how state scientists found some of Texas’ water could pose a 1 in 400 cancer risk.

You'll also find out how neighborhoods across the state have been getting illegal amounts of a particularly damaging form of radiation, an exposure that some say was “covered-up” by Texas officials.