Radioactivity

What is fracking?

Fracking is a special drilling technique used to extract unconventional oil and gas from deep underground. Once the drill has uncovered shale rock, it is targeted with a high-pressure water mixture to release the gas inside. This release is associated with environmental and health risks such as exposure to heavy metals and naturally-occurring radioactive material.

How can we assess the environmental and health risks of fracking?

To validate the dangers of fracking, Professor Bill Burgos and his team at Penn State University had undertaken a study using fracking water and sediment samples. They delivered identical samples to 15 university, government, and private labs across the US, Canada and Germany. The samples were to be tested using familiar methods that would provide the most accurate results.

All test results were then compiled and analyzed by Bill’s team to assess accuracy and correlate best practices with the varied analytical approaches used by the participating labs. This combined work effort has improved accuracy of trace metals and radioactivity testing to levels that can be useful for assessing environmental and health risks from fracking.

Our Contribution to the Study

Bureau Veritas Laboratories was one of two labs cited for producing the highest quality of data for this study. We also completed testing faster than participating labs whose common techniques took over 3 weeks to process.

Bureau Veritas’ Kurt Headrick was one of several authors who collaborated on a scientific paper documenting the findings of this study. Published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Environmental Science journal, this publication was recently nominated as one of the best Environmental papers in 2019.

The Environmental Science Best Papers Initiative recognizes the most excellent and impactful papers they have published in 2019 that are relevant to the health of the environment and the public.

Read the complete publication

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