Talk:Radionuclides associated with hydraulic fracturing/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Original research

This article seems to contain several original research. First, it says that radium and radon occurs in the shales. That is true. It also says that hydraulic fracturing may dislodge these naturally occurring radioactive materials. This is also true, although the reference for this says nothing about hydraulic fracturing. After that it says how dangerous is radon. True again, but this article says nothing how much natural radon and radium is dislodge by hydraulic fracturing.

The second issue is about radioactive traces. The article lists all potential tracers ever patented, but says nothing about the actual use of these tracers. It lists some amounts limits of these tracers but without comparison what are the effects of these amount it really does not give the adequate picture. This issue was already discussed at the talk page of Hydraulic fracturing. Third issue is that the article links several environmental and health related events to event to hydraulic fracturing ehich are not proved to be caused by hydraulic fracturing. Beagel (talk) 14:42, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

The information about the dislodging of radionuclides is a common statement in most hf articles - I have inserted some refs and will add more. The information about tracers was largely removed from the main hf article as providing too much detail. Hence the need for this separate article. Smm201`0 (talk) 15:59, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
The issue was not about referencing the dislodging of radionuclides (but yes, the original references had nothing to do with the issue), but making statement about HF dislodging radinuclides and after that describing how dangerous these radionuclides are without saying what is the amounf of these dislodge during HF. This is the classical synthesis. And yes, that was the general understanding that the issue of radioactivity should be discussed in the Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing article. Beagel (talk) 16:08, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Also, saying that "Individuals exposed to high enough levels of radiation may experience symptoms of acute radiation syndrome, including fatigue, leukopenia, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, nose bleeds, dizziness, disorientation, low blood pressure, seizures, and tremors." is true but where it is said that hydraulic fracturing causes the level radiation which is enough high to cause these implications? Again, putting these two facts together without a source actually saying this is original research. Beagel (talk) 16:19, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

The first reference in the original paragraph included the information. The NYT articles contain information about the amount of radioactivity released, and concerns about its impact. There are other reports about this concern that I will add. Info about radionuclides belongs in both articles. Is it true that you work for the gas industry? If that is the cae, then, there is a COI. Smm201`0 (talk) 16:25, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Please so not make personal attacks. I have already stated for answer your previous accusation that I don't have any relation, rather than filling my car, to any oil and gas industry. You knew this and repeating these accusations are not productive. I would be only happy if any admin/checkuser could check this issue to avoid continuation of these baseless accusations. I am clarifying once more why you addition to the health impact section is WP:SYNTH. You are stating two facts, both true. First, hydraulic fracturing could dislodge radon. True. Then you state that radiation may cause several health impacts. True again. But you still missing the source saying that HF cause radiation high enough for these health impacts. Your last addition that "High levels of radiation in hydraulic fracturing wastewater have been documented and there are concerns about radiation exposure during spills and blowouts." does not help much because "high level" is a subjective opinion. Lets have exact figures what level of radiation is caused by HF and lets compare it if this enough to cause e.g. leukopenia. Or find relaible source which explicitly says that HF has caused these, these and these illnesses. Otherwise, this is WP:SYNTH and does not belongs here. Beagel (talk) 17:18, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Please follow your own advice about accusations. I think yours outnumber mine about 3:1 in recent history alone. Also, at least one of the references quantifies levels of radiation relative to government standards both in text and in a graphic. Not SYN because of evidence of radiation in hf wastewater, research indicating that exposure to radiation increases cancer risk, and sources expressing concern about risks associated with exposure to both naturally occurring and man-made radionuclides. Smm201`0 (talk) 19:59, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
Once more, please look what WP:SYNTH is. Your arguments above are classical synthesis. All facts separately are correct; however, putting these facts together to make conclusion which is not published by neither sources is synthesis, a type of WP:OR. WP:SYNTH says: "If one reliable source says A, and another reliable source says B, do not join A and B together to imply a conclusion C that is not mentioned by either of the sources." Beagel (talk) 04:16, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
If you read the references you will see that one describes a well incident in which radioactive tracers were released with flowback that required professional remediation. Concerns about radiation exposure are stated in that ref and an additional ref notes concerns about radiation exposure from tracers as well. Not WP:SYNTH at all. Smm201`0 (talk) 12:02, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
Nobody argues that radioactive tracers are not concern. Nobody argues that there has been no incidences. Nobody also says that radiation does not cause symptoms of acute radiation syndrome. But there is no reference saying that tracers used in HF process causes radiation level enough high to cause acute radiation syndrome. Without that kind of reference adding information about the acute radiation syndrome is synthesis as it implies that HF causes acute radiation syndrome, but this is not supported by any reference. Beagel (talk) 12:29, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
It's all in the dose. Example fact 1: Apple seeds contain cyanide. Example fact 2: Ingesting cyanide can cause sudden death. Example synthesis: ingesting apple seeds can cause death by acute cyanide poisoning? Plazak (talk) 19:18, 22 April 2013 (UTC)

Quantities of radionuclides

MH, we have obviously formed different perceptions of HF based on what we've each read, but I've noticed we both try to stick to reliable, verifiable sources. In this case the quantities of naturally occurring radionuclides mentioned in the source cited are not minute. If you find a source that actually says they are minute, write "However, other sources report the quantities are minute" and cite it. Smm201`0 (talk) 14:06, 15 August 2012 (UTC)

Nuclides mentioned in patents

There really is no point in putting lists of anything mentioned in patents in the article. A patent is written with the intent of preventing anyone else from using your invention. It is therefore standard practice in patents to list all the conceivable ways that something might be done, even if there is no intention of doing them that way, just to stop competitors from getting round the patent by making a minor change.

In the article we already have a list of nuclides actually used and a list of regulated quantities. A list from patents serves no useful purpose.

It would be good if the lists could be expanded to show why particular isotopes are used, what advantages they have, what special risks they might pose, what they are used for and other encyclopedic things. At the moment I get the impression that we are trying to scare people by means of long lists. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:53, 29 November 2012 (UTC)

As mentioned previously, this page was created in order to provide more detail than was appropriate for the main HF page, including the lists. Patents provide information about which radionuclides can and have been used in hydraulic fracturing. The list is relevant, especially when the industry will not say which they are using. Even if they did, the ones they are currently using can change. The information you would like to see would be great, but is often considered proprietary and therefore not available. Links to other pages that provide additional information are included. These links can help readers to determine what to think about various radionuclides, including how concerned or unconcerned they should be. If there is a bias regarding the way the information is conveyed, that is a problem. The listing of substances used is here, however, is accurate, verifiable information, and relevant to the content of the article. Smm201`0 (talk) 18:11, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Being mentioned in patents does not mean that they are used in reality. Therefore, this statement is incorrect and misleading. This should be corrected. I am also sorry to say that but a statement "These links can help readers to determine what to think about various radionuclides, including how concerned or unconcerned they should be." does not belong to encyclopaedia. We should provide veritable information based on reliable sources. In this case, patents does not verify if these tracers are used in practice or not. Also saying that "the industry will not say which they are using." is incorrect. There have been problems with this but in recent years most of companies are reporting what they are using (at least for new wells). Beagel (talk) 21:47, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
Smm201'0, do you not know what a patent is or how they work? I have explained above, as has Beagel that mention in a patent does not mean use in reality. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:16, 1 December 2012 (UTC)
This page is about radionuclides 'associated with hydraulic fracturing', not radionuclides 'used in hydraulic fracturing', so radionuclides considered for use to the degree that their use is actually formally patented would meet inclusion criteria. The links I was referring to are the ones for terms in the article, such as hydraulic fracturing (the link to the hf page), not ELs. As I said, such links are used so readers can find additional information if they are curious. Are you suggesting terms should not have links? Again, I'm not talking about ELs. Companies are still not required to disclose all the substances they use. They don't have to disclose proprietary substances. They don't list radiotracers used in each well, although that information may be available through the NRC and other agencies if folks know where to look/who to ask. That info is backed by RSes in the articles already. Smm201`0 (talk) 00:11, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
If you really want the article to be what you have said then I will propose it for deletion again. To have an article mentioning anything that has ever been associated with HF in any way is plain crazy. Either we interpret the title in a sensible way or we delete the article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:31, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Why I have removed sourced material - please to not revert without discussion

I am assuming that the purpose of this article is to inform readers of the radionuclides actually used in HF, how they are used and what they are used for, what advantages particular a nuclide might have that are relevant to HF, and what risks to health and the environment the use of particular nuclides in HF have.

Instead we have the rather uninformed opinion of every possible bad or scary thing that might be associated with radionuclides in HF. Here are some examples of text I have removed and why.

Smm, I have split this into sections so that it is easier to discus exactly what is wrong with your text.


As radon decays, it produces radioactive decay products. If the contaminated dust of these "radon daughters" are inhaled, they can lodge in the lungs and increase the risk of developing lung cancer.[1][2] Drinking water containing radon also presents a risk of developing internal organ cancers, primarily stomach cancer.[2]

There is nothing on what levels of radon in drinking water have been measured due to HF or are considered likely and what would be the expected health effects of these? This is just a random collection of bad things about radon, none of which is specific or even known to be relevant to the HF industry.

For the general effects and properties of radon we can link to the article on it. It is hard to see how radon in drinking water might be inhaled. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:22, 2 December 2012 (UTC)


Iodine in food is absorbed by the body and preferentially concentrated in the thyroid where it is needed for the functioning of that gland. When Iodine-131 is present in high levels in the environment from hydraulic fracturing flowback and blowouts, it can be absorbed through contaminated food and water, and will also accumulate in the thyroid. As it decays, it may cause damage to the thyroid. The primary risk from exposure to high levels of iodine-131 is the chance occurrence of radiogenic thyroid cancer in later life. Other risks include the possibility of non-cancerous growths and thyroiditis.[3]

This suggest that Iodine-131 from HF has been found in drinking water. There are no sources saying this. For the general heath effects of Iodine-131 we can link to the article.


The level of liquid radium in hydraulic fracturing wastewater has been measured to be as high as 18,035 pCi/L (federal limit for drinking water is 5pCi/L),[4] and the gross alpha level measured to be as high as 40,880 pCi/L (federal limit for drinking water is 15 pCi/L).[5][4]

People do not drink waste water, as this suggests. Before any comment can be made we would need to know what level of contamination of drinking water by HF waste water has been found.

Concern about spills and blowouts

There are also concerns about radiation exposure during spills and blowouts.[6][7]

This is just stating the obvious. Of course there are concerns about accidental releases of radiation.

Effects of radiation

Long term exposure to low level radiation is associated with stochastic[8] health effects; the greater the exposure, the more likely the health effects are to occur.[8]

This is a half-baked attempt to explain what is explained much better in the Ionizing radiation article.

By all means give our readers detailed facts, but let is do it properly. Martin Hogbin (talk) 00:28, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Why I keep reinserting relevant sourced material

The topic of this page is "radionuclides associated with hydraulic fracturing," not "radionuclides used in hydraulic fracturing." That is why it contains information about both man made and naturally occurring radioactive substances either used or dislodged by hydraulic fracturing. The information about which radionuclides make the best radioactive tracers is better suited for the HF article itself. Unfortunately, drilling companies are not including the radioactive tracers in their lists of substances used in hydraulic fracturing, let alone discussing the relative efficacy of individual tracers. More detailed information about each substance can be found on its own page within WP, so it is better to include page links rather than swamp this page with detail. All the information in the article is directly sourced, not synthesized. If you read the sources, you will find the answers to your concerns. I am not going to retype them here. The connection between waste water and drinking water is that in some places, such as Pennsylvania (see source), waste water is discharged upstream of drinking water intakes, and its contaminants end up in drinking water.

I know that you support the use of hydraulic fracturing, but why not lay out all the information and let people decide what to think for themselves rather than suppressing negative information? Censoring information introduces bias, which isn't good for WP. Also, please read each of the sources and give them some thought before making decisions about the substance and relevance of well sourced content. Smm201`0 (talk) 17:11, 2 December 2012 (UTC)Smm201`0 (talk) 17:22, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

I do not support anything, I am trying to help write an encyclopedia. Please read my comments above and respond to them. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:42, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Smm, how about discussing the issues here rather than continuing to edit war and throw accusations (for example censorship)at other editors. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:08, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Listing of radioactive tracers appearing in patents for use in mapping fractures

Give me a break! There is no WP:must be actively used in hydraulic fracturing. Stop making up bogus reasons for deleting information that is not in the interest of the gas industry. One reason companies do not list tracers is that if people don't know what the substances are, they can't test for them. The industry is moving away from Iodine-131, partly because of liability issues, but also because the EPA routinely tests for it due to its association with nuclear energy. They are opting for substances that aren't under such surveillance. It does not surprise me that you would want to suppress this information. Others may want to comment on whether the following information should appear in this article:

"Other radiation-emitting tracer isotopes used are Antimony-121, Antimony-122, Antimony-123, Antimony-125, Antimony-126, Antimony-127, Carbon-14, Chromium-51, Cobalt-57, Cobalt-58, Cobalt-60, Gold-198, Iodine-127, Iodine-128, Iodine-129, Iodine-130, Iron-59, Krypton-85, Lanthanum-140, Potassium-39 (activated to Potassium-40), Potassium-41 (activated to Potassium-42), Potassium-43, Rubidium-86, Scandium-45, Scandium-47, Scandium-48, Silver-110, Sodium-22, Strontium-85, Strontium-90, Tritium, Zinc-65, and Zirconium-95.[9][10][11][12][13]" Smm201`0 (talk) 17:43, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Do you have any evidence at all to support your theory? The important thing about radionuclides is that they are very easy to detect and identify even in tiny quantities, that is why they are used. Using some exotic and unusual radiotracer would be the worst possible thing for an industry that was trying to hide its activities to do. If someone wanted to hide its use of radiotracers from the public then Iodine-131 would be the best choice because of nuclear power releases and its use in medicine. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:08, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Smm201`0, you write "Other radiation-emitting tracer isotopes used are ...". This statement fails WP:V as being listed in different patents does not mean that these tracers are used in practice. Therefore, it does not belong in the encyclopaedia as any unverified statement. Also, you have been asked a numerous times (I am not even able to count how many times) to stop accusing your opponents for being representatives of the gas industry. You are not newcomer anymore to ignore WP:Etiquette. Beagel (talk) 18:56, 2 December 2012 (UTC)

Smm201`0, I have removed this misleading data again. Being mentioned in a patent does not even imply any significant association with HF. Have you read many patents? Do you understand what radioactive tracers are and how and why they are used? Your conspiracy theory above is laughable.Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:57, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Smm please discuss this issue here. Even reference to the patents is entirely misleading. In any are of technology you will find patents listing possible materials that may be used. This does not mean that these materials are used or even that the are good materials to use. The listed materials are not even the only ones that could be used. The lists are there purely to hinder someone trying to circumvent the patent, thus they are based on the ways in which different materials could be used specifically for the purpose of getting round that patent.
By referring to these lists we tell our readers nothing; in fact we mislead them into thinking that these are the most likely materials to be used, which may not be the case at all.
I would ask you to remove these pointless references from the article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:16, 24 December 2012 (UTC)
Smm, I am disappointed that, rather than remove the irrelevant patent quotations, you decided to completely reverse my work in making the article more encyclopedic, without removing any sourced information. Martin Hogbin (talk) 23:26, 26 December 2012 (UTC)

Just for the record, my guess of what radionuclides have ever been considered for use as tracers would be pretty well all of them. Many would have been rapidly ruled out as completely unsuitable but that would leave plenty. The ones that are used are used for the reasons given in the article but I would be surprised if oil companies did not regularly review the risks and benefits of the substances that they use and reconsider other options. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:27, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Smm, if you really want to improve the information that we give to our readers on radionuclides associated with HF then perhaps you could try to find some sources which explain why particular nuclides are used and what specific advantages and risks each one has. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:57, 27 December 2012 (UTC)

Longer lived "naturally occurring" radionuclides more of a problem

One of the speakers at a recorded Rutger's symposium pointed out that the naturally occurring radionuclides were more of a concern, but it is also here:
"Importantly, the type of radioactive material found in the Marcellus Shale and brought to the surface by horizontal hydrofracking is the type that is particularly long-lived and could easily bio-accumulate over time and deliver a dangerous radiation dose to potentially millions of people long after the drilling is over."
I'll look for additional sources as well. I'd prefer a NYT article or similar. I doubt this is a debatable fact, but given that, finding additional sources should not be a problem. Smm201`0 (talk) 15:19, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Yes, you are quite right Smm, the naturally occurring materials are of greater concern that radiotracers and vastly more significant than radionuclides merely mentioned in patents for defensive purposes. Why do we not try to write something encyclopedic on this issue? The problem is well known and no doubt the industry and regulators are aware of it. We need sources that show the scale of the problem, how significant the risks are, and what the industry is doing to reduce them. I would fully support a balanced discussion of this topic in this article. Martin Hogbin (talk)

Now we are getting somewhere

Smm, your link to the data sheets seems a good way of dealing with this issue although we are still lacking a reliable source showing a link between radon in HF waste water and radon in drinking water. Although it is reasonable to suppose that HF waste water might conceivably find its way into drinking water sources we have no evidence that this has ever occurred. Do we know what precautions are taken to prevent this? Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:56, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

There are several cited New York Times articles that address these. Please read the sources if you are going to work on these articles. Smm201`0 (talk) 02:22, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
I have and they do not appear to say that waste with the high levels of radium mentioned in the article is being dumped upstream of water intakes. Can you show me where this is stated please?
Sure, read this article: Smm201`0 (talk) 00:55, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
And this one: Smm201`0 (talk) 00:57, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
Smm, you are missing my point. Do you have any sources which show that water containing the levels of radium given in the article are being dumped upstream of drinking water intakes. Do we also have any estimate of what effect this would have on drinking water radium levels? If you want to juxtapose the high waste water radium levels and the drinking water limits you need to show how much one affects the other. It is reasonable to suppose that there might be a connection but if we want to give figures we must show how much. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:41, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Removal of Neutrality and OR tags.

I am trying to get this article to a state where the above tags can be properly removed. Comments from other editors and what would be required are welcome. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:23, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Major issues why these tags were used are discribed in the previous sections starting from the first one. It seems that as of this version the OR issue is resolved. Beagel (talk) 22:45, 4 January 2013 (UTC)
So can we drop the tags now. Are there any neutrality issues remaining? Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:53, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Concerns about radiotracers?

The article currently contains this sentence, 'Concerns have been expressed that both naturally occurring radionuclides and radioactive tracers may return to the surface with flowback and during blow outs', citing two references. Neither reference appears to me to support the statement that, 'Concerns have been expressed that...radioactive tracers...may return to the surface'. The first article stresses how low the contamination is from a specific incident and the second talks about general safety concerns with radiotracers. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:49, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Guerilla warfare

Smm, rather than addressing the specific reasons that parts of your edits to the Hydraulic fracturing article have been removed you seem to have embarked upon a campaign of guerilla warfare by adding similar edits to this page.

I fully support the inclusion, in an encyclopedic manner, of genuine concerns about the effects of radioactive pollution from HF, such radium in wastewater, but the material you have added is either not supported by the cited sources or has nothing to do with radioactivity. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:17, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Not appropriate to delete material just because you are concerned it reflects poorly on hydraulic fracturing. It isn't just isn't.

My guess is that you are calling this information "synthesis" because that has worked before. In this case it just isn't accurate. You are censoring the article by deleting negative information about hydraulic fracturing. This is the deleted material to which I am referring for those of you that don't know how to access the article's history. Feel free to weigh in or re-add.

Please read what I have written, in my edit comments and on the HF talk page. Most of the material that I have deleted in the radioactivity section has nothing to do with synthesis; it also has nothing to do with radioactivity!
Let me start with the easiest one first.
I removed, 'is many times more salty than seawater'. Can you explain to me what that has to do with radioactivity? Would you like me to go through my other deletions one by one with you? I would be happy to do that if you like. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:42, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
I didn't contribute the seawater piece. I think it's author was providing context for the rest of what s/he said. I thought about cutting it out too, but kept it for context. Smm201`0 (talk) 16:50, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Injected radionuclides

Injection of radioactive tracers, along with the other substances in hydraulic-fracturing fluid, is often used to determine the injection profile and location of fractures created by hydraulic fracturing.[14] Patents describe in detail how several tracers are typically used in the same well. Wells are hydraulically fractured in different stages.[9] Tracers with different half-lives are used for each stage.[9][10] Their half-lives range from 40.2 hours (Lanthanum-140) to 28.90 years (Strontium-90).[11] Amounts per injection of radionuclide are listed in the The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) guidelines.[12] The NRC guidelines also list a wide range or radioactive materials in solid, liquid and gaseous forms that are used as field flood or enhanced oil and gas recovery study applications tracers used in single and multiple wells.[12] According to the NRC, some of the most commonly used include Antimony-124, Bromine-82, Iodine-125, Iodine-131, Iridium-192, and Scandium-46.[12] A 2003 publication by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) provides a detailed description of tracer use, confirms the frequent use of most of the tracers above, and says that Manganese-56, Sodium-24, Technetium-m, Silver-m, Argon-41, and Xenon-133 are also used extensively because they are easily identified and measured.[15] Other potentially suitable tracers are named in various patents.[9][10][13] In terms of quantities used, the NRC gives the following examples: Iodine-131, gas form, 100 millicuries total, not to exceed 20 millicuries per injection; Iodine-131, liquid form, 50 millicuries total, not to exceed 10 millicuries per injection; Iridium-192, "Labeled" frac sand, 200 millicuries total, not to exceed 15 millicuries per injection; Silver-110m, liquid form, 200 millicuries total, not to exceed 20 millicuries per injection [5]

We removed the nuclides named in patents for reasons that I have given at least twice before. Being mentioned in a patent does not imply that that a nuclide is used or even being seriously considered for use in HF. We have retained all the nuclides that are stated to be commonly used or just used in the process. In the current text, we explained the basis on which nucides are selected for use as tracers and how their use is regulated.
The stuff in patents is described as in patents. There is no longer a list of them, just a reference to other sources, which is what you originally requested. Smm201`0 (talk) 16:50, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
What possible benefit is there to our readers in giving a long list of substances that are probably not used at all? Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:56, 7 February 2013 (UTC)
The lists of radionuclides in patents were removed a while back. Please read what you are deleting.Smm201`0 (talk) 16:50, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Even the reference to the patents is pointless and misleading. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:55, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Concerns about environmental impact

Concerns have been expressed that both naturally occurring radionuclides and radioactive tracers may return to the surface with flowback and during blow outs.[6][7] Wastewater from the wells is released into rivers, injected into wells, and evaporated from ponds.[5][16]

Please show us where in the cited sources it says that there is concern that radiotracers may return to the surface?
One source details the cleanup of radioactive material after a blowout, noting protection of workers, etc. from said contamination. The other talks about safety concerns when using tracers for hf.

The level of liquid radium in hydraulic fracturing wastewater released upstream from drinking water intakes has been measured to be up to 18,035 pCi/L,[4] and the gross alpha level measured to be as high as 40,880 pCi/L [4] and the gross alpha level measured to be as high as 40,880 pCi/L.[5][4] The New York Times reported that studies by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and a confidential study by the drilling industry concluded that radioactivity in drilling waste cannot be fully diluted in rivers and other waterways.[17] Recycling the wastewater has been proposed as a solution but has its limitations.[18]

Political, governmental, and industry pressures have prevented the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from studying risks associated with radionuclides[19][20] or other chemicals in hydraulic fracturing fluids in wastewater,[21] source water, and drinking water.[19][20][22][23][24] The scope of the EPA Hydraulic Fracturing Draft Study Plan was narrowed to exclude them.[19][23][6]

Potential health impact

As radon decays, it produces radioactive decay products. If the contaminated dust of these "radon daughters" are inhaled, they can lodge in the lungs and increase the risk of developing lung cancer.[1][2] Drinking water containing radon also presents a risk of developing internal organ cancers, primarily stomach cancer.[2] Iodine in food is absorbed by the body and preferentially concentrated in the thyroid where it is needed for the functioning of that gland. When Iodine-131 is present in high levels in the environment from hydraulic fracturing flowback and blowouts, it can be absorbed through contaminated food and water, and will also accumulate in the thyroid. As it decays, it may cause damage to the thyroid. The primary risk from exposure to high levels of iodine-131 is the chance occurrence of radiogenic thyroid cancer in later life. Other risks include the possibility of non-cancerous growths and thyroiditis.[3] The level of liquid radium in hydraulic fracturing wastewater has been measured to be as high as 18,035 pCi/L (federal limit for drinking water is 5pCi/L),[4] and the gross alpha level measured to be as high as 40,880 pCi/L (federal limit for drinking water is 15 pCi/L).[5][4] There are also concerns about radiation exposure during spills and blowouts.[6][7] Long term exposure to low level radiation is associated with stochastic[8] health effects; the greater the exposure, the more likely the health effects are to occur.[8] A group of doctors from the United States have called for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until health effects are more thoroughly studied.[25][26]

Deleted References

  1. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference radon was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference EPA fact sheet Radon was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b Rivkees, Scott A.; Sklar, Charles; Freemark, Michael (1998). "The Management of Graves' Disease in Children, with Special Emphasis on Radioiodine Treatment". Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 83 (11): 3767–76. doi:10.1210/jc.83.11.3767. PMID 9814445. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Cite error: The named reference TimesMap was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  5. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference Urbina 26Feb2011 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  6. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference New Brunswick was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  7. ^ a b c Cite error: The named reference NYSERDA was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  8. ^ a b c d Staff. "Radiation protection health effects". US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d [1] Scott III, George L. (03-June-1997) US Patent No. 5635712: Method for monitoring the hydraulic fracturing of a subterranean formation. US Patent Publications.
  10. ^ a b c [2] Scott III, George L. (15-Aug-1995) US Patent No. US5441110: System and method for monitoring fracture growth during hydraulic fracture treatment. US Patent Publications.
  11. ^ a b [3] Gadeken, Larry L., Halliburton Company (08-Nov-1989). Radioactive well logging method. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ep0340956a1" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  12. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference NRC was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  13. ^ a b [4] Fertl; Walter H. (15-Nov-1983) US Patent No. US4415805: Method and apparatus for evaluating multiple stage fracturing or earth formations surrounding a borehole. US Patent Publications.
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference Reis iodine was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ Radiation Protection and the Management of Radioactive Waste in the Oil and Gas Industry (PDF) (Report). International Atomic Energy Agency. 2003. pp. 39–40. Retrieved 20 May 2012. Beta emitters including H-3 and C-14 may be used when it is feasible to use sampling techniques to detect the presence of the radiotracer or when changes in activity concentration can be used as indicators of the properties of interest in the system. Gamma emitters, such as Sc-46, La-140, Mn-56, Na-24, Sb-124, Ir-192, Tc-m, I-131, Ag-m, Ar-41, and Xe-133 are used extensively because of the ease with which they can be identified and measured...In order to aid the detection of any spillage of solutions of the 'soft' beta emitters, they are sometimes spiked with a short half-life gamma emitter such as Br-82... 
  16. ^ Staff (26 February 2011). "Drilling Down: Documents: Natural Gas's Toxic Waste". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2012. 
  17. ^ Cite error: The named reference toxic was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  18. ^ Cite error: The named reference Urbina 01Mar2011 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  19. ^ a b c DiCosmo, Bridget (15 May 2012). "SAB Pushes To Advise EPA To Conduct Toxicity Tests In Fracking Study". InsideEPA. US Environmental Protection Agency. (subscription required). Retrieved 2012-05-19. But some members of the chartered SAB are suggesting that the fracking panel revise its recommendation that the agency scale back its planned toxicity testing of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process, because of the limited resources and time frame...Chesapeake Energy supported the draft recommendation, saying that “an in-depth study of toxicity, the development of new analytical methods and tracers are not practical given the budget and schedule limitation of the study.” 
  20. ^ a b "The Debate Over the Hydrofracking Study's Scope". The New York Times. 3 March 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2012. While environmentalists have aggressively lobbied the agency to broaden the scope of the study, industry has lobbied the agency to narrow this focus 
  21. ^ Satterfield, John (30 June 2011). "Letter from Chesapeake Energy to EPA" (PDF). InsideEPA. US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 2012-05-19. Flowback and Produced water...Chesapeake agrees that an indepth study of toxicity, the development of new analytic methods and tracers are not practical given the budget and schedule limitations of the study...Wastewater Treatment and Waste Disposal...Chesapeake believes there was unjustified emphasis on the surface disposal of produced water to treatment plants in the SAB's Review...Chesapeake disagrees with the inclusion of water distribution network corrosion and burden of analyzing for contaminants by POTW's into the study. 
  22. ^ "Documents: Natural Gas's Toxic Waste". New York Times. February 26, 2011. 
  23. ^ a b Urbina, Ian (3 March 2011). "Pressure Limits Efforts to Police Drilling for Gas". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2012. More than a quarter-century of efforts by some lawmakers and regulators to force the federal government to police the industry better have been thwarted, as E.P.A. studies have been repeatedly narrowed in scope and important findings have been removed 
  24. ^ Jenny Hopkinson & Bridget DiCosmo (15 May 2012). "Academies' NRC Seeks Broad Review Of Currently Ignored Fracking Risks". InsideEPA. US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved 2012-05-19. 
  25. ^ David Wethe (19 January 2012). "Like Fracking? You'll Love 'Super Fracking'". Businessweek. Retrieved 22 January 2012. 
  26. ^ Mark Drajem (11 January 2012). "Fracking Political Support Unshaken by Doctors' Call for Ban". Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 

Cite error: A list-defined reference named "PADEP112012" is not used in the content (see the help page).

With all due respect...

With all due respect it still looks like the recent edits (which one can see of they go to the "history" tab and compare versions) are more in the interest of the gas and oil industry than a solid article in which different perspectives are represented. If what I have written only represents part of the reliable source material available, then please add the sources that represent the counterpoint rather than deleting information. The deletions still look largely like you want to hide information rather than balance it. I have tried to make the sections more succinct without deleting information. Smm201`0 (talk) 05:22, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

You have completely failed to respond to my detailed comments on why I removed your additions. The idea of the talk pages is to discuss improvements to the article. All you have done is to continue to restore material that is irrelevant, incorrect, and unencyclopedic. I, and the other editors who have removed your material, are perfectly willing to discuss the subject with you if you wish. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:22, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
Which nuclides to show?

Smm, to explain a bit further, the purpose of this article is, I presume, to tell our readers which radioisotopes are associated with the hydraulic fracturing process. If you interpret 'associated' too loosely and take it to mean, 'any substance which the industry has ever considered using' then, although I have no connection with the industry, I can hazard a guess as the the answer to that question - every radionuclide. I am sure that, at some time or other, a young engineer or physicist has been given the task of looking through the vast list of radionuclides and deciding which of them may be of use to the industry in some way. What an encyclopedia should tell people is the substances that actually are used, how they are selected, how they are used and in what quantities. The article currently does this. To speculatively add substances just because they are mentioned in patents is positively misleading and unhelpful, regardless of whether you are anti-HF, as you seem to be, pro-HF, or completely neutral, as I am.

Please discuss this subject here before reverting again. Martin Hogbin (talk) 10:25, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Please discuss recent changes

Smm, rather than just re-inserting the same material that has been removed many times by several editors, why do you not discuss the subject here so that we might come to some agreement. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:32, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

Article by Bob Weinhold

The article by Bob Weinhold, described as journalist who has covered environmental health issues for numerous outlets since 1996, a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists, has been used to add the following text:

Wastewater releases from the hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas wells may lead to radionuclide exposure. Even low levels of exposure increase the likelihood of the occurrence of cancer. Mining and hydraulic fracturing concentrates levels of uranium, radium, radon, and thorium in wastewater.

It is classical synthesis. The source says that "Examples of human activities that may lead to radionuclide exposure include mining, milling, and processing of radio­active substances; wastewater releases from the hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas wells; and the manufacture, use, disposal, and/or accidental release of products such as nuclear fuel, nuclear weapons, military armor, phosphate fertilizer, and certain medical devices, smoke detectors, and plastics.". It also says that "Mining and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” can concentrate levels of uranium (as well as radium, radon, and thorium) in wastewater." However, it does not say that hydraulic fracturing increase the likelihood of the occurrence of cancer what is implied by the above-mentioned addition. In addition, that kind of claim about health impact falls under WP:MEDRS and this source does not qualify as MEDRS. Therefore this synthesis should be removed. Beagel (talk) 21:34, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

The description that you give is over simplified. This article from Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) (a journal of peer-reviewed research and news published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) spells out the issues in far more detail. For those of you who would like to read it and decide for yourselves, here is the link:

I'll return when I have more time.Smm201`0 (talk) 23:05, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

The statement, 'Even low levels of exposure increase the likelihood of the occurrence of cancer',is based on on particular viewpoint on the dangers of ionising radiation that is not universally agreed and, without any supporting figures, it is pure alarmism; all human activity carries risk. We can state that there is a possible increased exposure to radiation but we cannot presume to summarise the whole of radiological protection and human risk management in one sentence in an article on HF. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:12, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
In his wide coverage of NORM from many sources, the author seems to have glossed over some points pertinent to this article. First, produced water rarely carries measurable uranium or thorium, because these are insoluble under reservoir (reducing) conditions. U and Th are concentrated in the shales, and so are present in the drill cuttings, but not the produced water, where radium (soluble in reducing conditions) is the problem. This is stated in the EPA website on the subject: NORM in drilling waste. Second, NORM is a problem in many oil and gas wells, fracked or not, that co-produce water, and I don't know that the fracking process per se contributes, other than making it economic to produce all this water. Note that the EPA website on NORM from oil and gas wells does not mention fracking at all. I'll have to get back with a better reference later. Plazak (talk) 13:12, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
I found this, I'll try to find the report itself. The concerns are mostly in regard to radium-226 and radium-228 which are dislodged by the process. "Radiation levels in fracking wastewater were first addressed in a December 2011 U.S. Geological Survey report that found that millions of barrels of wastewater from unconventional wells in Pennsylvania and conventional wells in New York were 3,609 times more radioactive than the federal limit for drinking water and 300 times more radioactive than a Nuclear Regulatory Commission limit for nuclear plant discharges. The report’s author, USGS research geologist Mark Engle, said fracking flowback from the Marcellus shale contains higher radiation levels than similar shale formations. “There (isn’t) a lot of data but in general, the Marcellus appears to be anomalously high,” Engle said in a previous interview. The USGS is still studying the issue, sampling wastewater from all types of oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, North Dakota and Montana." ( ) And yes, I know that is undiluted compared to drinking water. Smm201`0 (talk) 15:53, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
This is a related USGS report by Rowan, Engle, Kirby, and Kraemer: Smm201`0 (talk) 16:15, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. The USGS article linked above by Smm201 proves my second point. The radium in co-produced water is within the pre-existing formation water in the shale, and high radium is in no way caused by the fracking. In fact, pages 8 and 9 of the report document that the early water returns right after the fracking are often anomalously low in radioactivity, and increases over time as the frack fluid is recovered and the formation brine predominates. You see that fracking does not "dislodge" radioactive material from the formation. All the fracking does is make that water economic to produce. Plazak (talk) 21:40, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
In the article they say the reason that the radiation levels are lower in the early flowback is that they are diluted by the large amount of water injected in fracking. As less of the water remains and the flowback continues to resurface, the radiation levels increase. This is described in several other articles. There is also an article that describes how fracking increases radiation levels more than conventional techniques because it exposes more of the shale's surface, exposing it to the fluid, resulting in higher radiation in flowback. I'll see if I can find those articles and post the links, but I have other work to do today. Smm201`0 (talk) 15:45, 2 July 2013 (UTC)

Deleted sentence

I deleted this:

Long term exposure to low level radiation is associated with stochastic health effects; the greater the exposure, the more likely the health effects are to occur.

not because it is untrue but because it is vague, emotive, and not universally accepted. It is like saying, 'roller skating causes death', or 'hospital X-rays kill people'.

There is no doubt that radioactive contamination of drinking water poses a potential health hazard but this is not place to try and sum up the health effects of radioactive substances in one sentence, without access to the actual facts.

I agree that radon and radium would be serious contaminants of drinking water and that the possibility of contamination from HF waste water should be mentioned but without evidence that this has ever happened the above sentence is just alarmist. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:35, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Uranium and thorium?

The section "Potential Health impact” contains the statement:

“Hydraulic fracturing concentrates levels of uranium, radium, radon, and thorium in wastewater.”[15]

I believe this statement to be false as far as uranium and thorium, which I have never read or heard of being at anomalously high concentrations in oil and gas wastewater. The citation given is: Weinhold, Bob (19 September 2012). "Unknown Quantity: Regulating Radionuclides in Tap Water".Environmental Health Perspectives. NIEHS, NIH, which contains the statement:

"Mining and hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," can concentrate levels of uranium (as well as radium, radon, and thorium) in wastewater.”

Notice that Mr. Weinhold, apparently a usually reliable journalist, speaks not of hydraulic fracturing alone, but "Mining and hydraulic fracturing." I believe (giving him the benefit of the doubt) that his statement has been misinterpreted to mean that both mining and fracking produce all these contaminants in wastewater, when he probably meant that each of these activities may yield some of the listed radioactive contaminants, but not necessarily all of them. Leaving aside the question of whether fracking "concentrates" radioactivity (see topic above: we are still waiting for that citation!), let's consult the experts for guidance on this article. From the US EPA web page Radioactive Wastes from Oil and Gas Drilling 3rd paragraph:

"Radioactive wastes from oil and gas drilling take the form of produced water, drilling mud, sludge, slimes, or evaporation ponds and pits. It can also concentrate in the mineral scales that form in pipes (pipe scale), storage tanks, or other extraction equipment. Radionuclides in these wastes are primarily radium-226, radium-228, and radon gas."

The EPA web page on the subject (presumably a WP:RS) does not mention uranium or thorium, or for that matter "fracking". Lest you think that this is just a negligent oversight of the EPA, we have the following statement from a US Geological Survey (another WP:RS) publication on the subject of radioactivity in oil and gas wastewater, brought to my attention by an alert wiki editor: Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5135 pages 12 and 15:

“Uranium and thorium, unlike radium, are poorly soluble in the oxygen-poor, reducing conditions that are typical of oil- and gas-producing horizons and are likely to be more concentrated in mineral phases or organic matter than in solution.”

There you have it. The EPA website on the very subject does not mention U and Th in oilfield brines, and the USGS gives the theoretical reason why it is unlikely to find high U and Th concentrations in such waters. Unless someone can come up with at least one example of high uranium or thorium in produced wastewater from a fracked well, I propose that reference to uranium and thorium be removed from this article. Prove me wrong. Thanks. Plazak (talk) 00:54, 3 August 2013 (UTC)

I have removed them. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:06, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Uranium and thorium aren't as soluable, but they are soluable, and may also be present in solid matter carried in the wastewater. Here are some sources that discuss this: . There are other sources as well. Smm201`0 (talk) 22:58, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
Your first source states (quite correctly) that uranium and thorium are often concentrated in the shales that host shale gas, but I couldn't find where it documented U or Th being present in high concentrations in gas well wastewater; perhaps you could point us to the page in this 34-page document that you are referring to. Your second source, by Prof. Howarth, indeed simply states that U and Th are concentrated in fracked-well wastewater, but in a nontechnical presentation, without giving any details or instances. Although he certainly has the academic credentials, given Prof. Howarth's intense opposition to fracking, and his contested calculations of GHG impact of fracking, he's not the best source. What of your other sources? There really is a good amount of technical literature on NORM related to oil and gas wastewater, but all that I've ever seen concerns radium and radon. Has any federal, state, or local government agency ever documented high U and Th in oil and gas wastewater? Regards. Plazak (talk) 00:45, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Looking at this NYT ref: [7], it states that water from four Marcellus gas wells in Pennsylvania tested above drinking water standards for uranium, and shows their approximate location and amount of exceedance. Four wells in the state is not many, but with this level of specificity, I have to concede the point for uranium. I am still dubious about thorium, however, which is not mentioned in the NYT page. Any good refs for thorium? Plazak (talk) 21:33, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Removal of tags

I do not see anything to justify the two tags on this page now and I intend to remove them shortly if no one objects. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:01, 10 August 2013 (UTC)

Risk to site workers

I have removed this section because the source refers to the risks to workers at waste disposal sites where radioactive filters have been improperly disposed of. This has nothing particular to do with HF, it is caused by lazy and cost-cutting disposal organisations. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:05, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

I am hoping to get consensus to remove the two tags but this will not happen if inacurate anti-HF information is added to the article. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:07, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

I would have included the specifier "at waste disposal sites," but the actual quote does not support it. It is more general. Also, in the article no distinction is made regarding safety under different conditions. That fluid sits out in the open in ponds so exposure is likely. The ponds can even be near residences. This information is from a reliable source and the actual quote is included in the reference. Your objections are sounding like WIKI: I don't like it or POV rather than based on RS. You can't delete content just because you don't like what it says. Smm201`0 (talk) 16:02, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
My understanding of the source is that it refers to the disposal of filters contaminated with radioactive materials at waste sites which are not equipped to deal with radioactive material. Do you think it says something different? Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:18, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
The source says:
North Dakota prohibits disposal of waste that emits more than 5 picocuries per gram of radiation. Filter socks tested by a Williston, ND landfill operator were found to emit up to 47 pico curies per gram, the Sun reported.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers NORM a hazard mostly to workers at the site:
It is fairly clear from the wording that the source is referring to a hazard to the workers at the landfill site. Martin Hogbin (talk) 16:26, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that's clear, but will specify it for now. I'll add refs to address the at drilling site risk specifically. Smm201`0 (talk) 17:49, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Here's a quote from the EPA web site that talks about production sites:

"Workers are the people most likely to be exposed to this source of radiation, but production sites can also pose a potential hazard to members of the public. Most states and federal land management agencies have regulations which control the handling and disposal of radionuclides which may be present in produced water, drilling mud, or can concentrate in pipes, storage tanks, or other extraction equipment. The contamination may be present in mineral scale, sludges, slimes, or evaporation ponds or pits. Production sites which were developed prior to the mid-1970s may not have properly disposed of wastes that potentially contain this source of radioactivity. Building on this land, making this land accessible to the public and re-using contaminated equipment in construction are ways the public can be exposed to radiation from the drilling process. There are two categories of radioactive material that workers and the public need to be concerned about: •Naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM) that are released into the atmosphere and deposited on the ground through the drilling process, and • Technologically -enhanced naturally-occurring radioactive material (TENORM), which is radionuclides that have been concentrated by the extraction and production process, such as mineral scales and sludge waste buildup in oil and gas extraction equipment. The radiation comes from naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM) in the underground rock and sediment. When companies drill for gas or oil, the produced fluids, including water, may contain radionuclides, primarily radium-226, radium-228, and radon. The radon gas may be released to the atmosphere, while the produced water and mud containing radium are placed in ponds or pits for evaporation, re-use, or recovery. The radium brought up during drilling can also decay to radon gas, which a worker can inhale and can raise the risk of lung cancer. Radium-226 emits gamma radiation and the lead emits low-level energy gamma radiation and beta particles. Gamma radiation can also penetrate the skin and raise the risk of cancer. Following worker safety guidance will reduce total on-site radiation exposure." Smm201`0 (talk) 18:07, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Do you see any workers in hazmat suits on these drilling sites? They are not required to wear protective gear on most sites. We wouldn't want to scare anyone, right?
Quite. This is simply pointing out the possible hazards. A better quote from the same source would be, 'Workers in the industry have the potential for overexposure to radioactive material and must stay up-to-date on federal, state and industry health and safety guidelines. Following these procedures will reduce total on-site exposure'. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:31, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Not specific or informative enough, plus it is not just workers. It is people in neighboring areas. It doesn't describe routes of exposure. It really dumbs down the available information. Smm201`0 (talk) 18:47, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
"Federal, state and industry health and safety guidelines" do not presently require radiation protection for drilling site personnel. They are not considered radiation workers. Smm201`0 (talk) 18:54, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
You seem to want to cherry pick the bad stuff from your (new) source. There are indeed potential radiation hazards from HF and any process that brings naturally radioactive material to the surface but we have already mentioned that radium and radon maybe brought to the surface by HF. Giving a list of the safety precautions recommended to workers gives undue weight to this. Maybe we could work together on something more encyclopedic. Martin Hogbin (talk) 18:07, 12 August 2013 (UTC)

Removal of duplication.

Duplicated text was removed from the 'Heath impact' section. We already have, There are naturally occurring radioactive materials (e.g., radium, radon,[5][6] uranium, and thorium[7][8][9]) in shale deposits.[10] Brine co-produced and brought to the surface along with the oil and gas sometimes contains naturally occurring radioactive materials; brine from many shale gas wells, including Marcellus wells, contains these radioactive materials. Martin Hogbin (talk) 19:31, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

From the unsourced to the untrue

The section "Potential health impact" starts with the statement:

"A group of doctors from the United States have called for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in populated areas until health effects are more thoroughly studied.[18][19]"

Because this is an article on radionuclides, the statement strongly implies that at least one of the reasons cited by these doctors is radioactivity. But the two cited sources do not support this. Does anyone have a source that says that radioactivity was one of the reasons cited by the doctors? If not, the statement should be removed.

I agree. Martin Hogbin (talk) 07:57, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Removed. Plazak (talk) 22:40, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Then in the section "Regulation" is the following sentence:

"Safe drinking water standards have not yet been established for radioactivity levels,[8]"

This statement is false, as documented by this page on the US EPA website: are EPA’s drinking water regulations for radionuclides?

Plazak (talk) 00:24, 4 September 2013 (UTC)

I agree again. I suggest that your remove these statements. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:00, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Removed Plazak (talk) 22:40, 15 September 2013 (UTC)

Regulation in the US

The Q and A section here is unencyclopedic. It needs to be rewritten to serve some kind of encyclopedic purpose. I cannot do this as I cannot see one. Martin Hogbin (talk) 17:09, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Point well made. The only reason I added the EPA quote was that one editor keeps removing references to the regulation of produced water under the Clean Water Act, wrongly insisting that the CWA does not apply. I will move it to a reference. Plazak (talk) 02:45, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
The regulation of produced water under the CWA should be a simple matter of fact, supported by reliable sources. If the sources you have used are reliable then any points that they make can be incorporated into the general text at appropriate places and not removed.
If there is a dispute over the accuracy or interpretation of the sources it should be discussed here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 08:15, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
There are different categories of water addressed by different legislation - run off (broadly defined, drinking water, etc.) Regarding the current version of the CWA, hf is addressed by saying activities associated with gas and oil exploration and production are excluded from the permitting requirement. Permits were required at one point, but aren't currently. Smm201`0 (talk) 19:00, 11 October 2013 (UTC)
Here's the act that excluded oil and gas activities from various regulatory processes. It created what has been called the "Halliburton Loophole." Read it and snore. . Smm201`0 (talk) 19:00, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Here's another WP article about it:

The Wikipedia article on the regulations is inaccurate/incomplete, which is contributing to the confusion. IMHO, the focus of this article should be on the radionuclides associated with hydraulic fracturing. These would include those used in the process (e.g., as radiotracers) and those dislodged and returned in wastewater and the gas or oil. The should be something about the kinds of substances that are found in formations containing shale, and/or formations where the technique is commonly required. The sources about PA include information about that, but some of the other information isn't as relevant. Issues related to radionuclides associated with hydraulic fracturing should be included, and should be international in focus if such information is available. Smm201`0 (talk) 19:04, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

The Clean Water Act

Although the Clean Water Act may apply to hydraulic fracturing waste disposal, what it says is that some forms of waste, such as "storm water" and "runoff" are exempt (See The definitions of "storm water" and "runoff" have been loose. From what I've read, those "convicted" of violations of the Clean Water Act have not been convicted at trial but plead guilty as part of some form of settlement. Your source names some entities that have been 'accused' of dumping the wastewater. Here is another source where you can see that those being penalized have plead guilty: Where you do see some convictions is under some other laws, such as the "Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law."

Those whose discharges are not exempt may discharge through POTWs, who are under regulations about the quality of their discharges. "Hydraulic Fracturing: Selected Legal Issues" says that "Rather than dealing with disposal of flowback on their own by obtaining and complying with a NPDES permit, drilling companies may opt to transfer the wastewater to publicly owned treatment works (POTW) that discharge to navigable waters. There are some pretreatment requirements for wastewater introduced to a POTW including prohibiting introduction of wastes that interfere with, pass through or are otherwise incompatible with POTW operations. Because of the salinity of oil and gas production wastewater, discharge to POTWs generally is not available, as most municipal POTWs are not designed and engineered to handle the high levels of total dissolved solids (TDS), fracturing fluid additives, metals, and NORMs in the wastewater. To minimize the need for wastewater disposal, many companies are employing on-site treatment technologies to reuse or recycle a portion of the flowback and produced water." More about regulation of wastewater: Smm201`0 (talk) 10:12, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Please be specific about how exactly your first paragraph applies to radionuclides associated with hydraulic fracturing. Is it your thesis that either produced water or frac flowback is exempt from NPDES under the stormwater exemption? If so, where is your citation from a reliable source? Your second paragraph quotes a reasonable summary of the problems when POTWs accept oil and gas wastewater for treatment and surface discharge under the POTWs' own NPDES permits. It should also be noted, however, that this was common practice apparently only in Pennsylvania, and even in Pennsylvania has been largely halted for shale well produced water. Plazak (talk) 03:19, 17 November 2013 (UTC)

Iodine 131 in drinking water

Mention of Iodine 131 in drinking water is not justified. The conclusion of the cited source is: 'Workshop participants concluded that the likely source of 131I in Philadelphia’s source waters is residual 131 I excreted from patients following medical treatments and that more intensive, targeted monitoring would likely identify other areas with detectable 131 I in drinking source water'.

Agreed. The assertion that I-131 detections in drinking water are due to hydraulic fracturing is the unsupported pet theory of one wiki editor, not supported by any WP:RS, and clearly WP:OR. Plazak (talk) 20:39, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
No, the conclusion was that further investigation is warranted. They are still in the process of gathering data. Although in the RESULTS/CONCLUSIONS section it says that "Workshop participants concluded that the likely source of 131 I in Philadelphia’s source waters is residual 131 I excreted from patients following medical treatments" it goes on to describe gaps in the information available. It says, "Over the course of the workshop many data gaps regarding the occurrence, fate, transport, treatment, and management of 131 I were identified. The key data gaps include:..." and one of the gaps described is "the potential contributions of sources other than medical use (e.g., veterinary treatments, contributions from septic systems [diffuse pollution], Sanitary Sewer Overflows [SSOs] and Combined SewerOverflows [CSOs], hydro-fracturing) to occurrence of 131 I in wastewaters and drinking water treatment plant source waters); and..." They go on to discuss the next steps in the investigation.[1] Smm201`0 (talk) 12:17, 3 December 2013 (UTC) Smm201`0 (talk) 12:20, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Your own cited source, like the others you cite in the article, says nothing about hydraulic fracturing. On the contrary, it concludes:
Workshop participants concluded that the likely source of 131I in Philadelphia’s source waters is residual 131I excreted from patients following medical treatments..."
The supposed connection with hydraulic fracturing is strictly your own theory, and is contradicted by every knowledgeable source you can cite. It is a classic case of WP:SYN, and does not belong in the article. Plazak (talk) 13:30, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
No... The source says they have identified gaps in the data and are continuing to investigate. Again, the source says "Over the course of the workshop many data gaps regarding the occurrence, fate, transport, treatment, and management of 131 I were identified. The key data gaps include:...the potential contributions of sources other than medical use (e.g., veterinary treatments, contributions from septic systems [diffuse pollution], Sanitary Sewer Overflows [SSOs] and Combined SewerOverflows [CSOs], hydro-fracturing) to occurrence of 131 I in wastewaters and drinking water treatment plant source waters)and..."[1] Smm201`0 (talk) 16:36, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
WP is an encyclopedia which should state facts supported by reliable sources. The are no sources which say that 131 I in drinking water is cause by HF and even your cited source says that, ' likely source of 131I from patients following medical treatments'. It then goes on to speculate about several other possible sources of 131 I. Just because your chosen source does not say that their investigation has not conclusively proved that the 131 I is not from HF does not mean that we should mention that 131 I in drinking water might be from HF. This is not even WP:synth it is pure speculation by you and has no place here. Martin Hogbin (talk) 22:47, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
All I state is that they are investigating it. That is supported by the source. Smm201`0 (talk) 22:09, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Let me restate, 'WP is an encyclopedia'. I am not sure what it is that you do not understand about this. Martin Hogbin (talk) 09:11, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
According to Wikipedia, "An encyclopedia (also spelled encyclopaedia or encyclopædia)[2] is a type of reference work – a compendium holding a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge.[3] Encyclopedias are divided into articles or entries, which are usually accessed alphabetically by article name.[4] Encyclopedia entries are longer and more detailed than those in most dictionaries.[4] Generally speaking, unlike dictionary entries, which focus on linguistic information about words, encyclopedia articles focus on factual information to cover the thing or concept for which the article name stands.[5][6][7]" My sourced fact about hydraulic fracturing being investigated as a possible source of the iodine-131 contamination in Philadelphia is consistent with that, whereas your knee jerk deletion of facts that you don't like or that personally upset you is not. Smm201`0 (talk) 22:45, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
It is hard to know where to start in responding. Let me start with this, 'a summary of information from either all branches of knowledge or a particular branch of knowledge'. Do you thing your statement is a fair summary of the source that you cite? Do you really believe that including relatively insignificant piece of information, that one selected possible source of 131 I has not been conclusively ruled out, whilst omitting the main conclusion of the source, that the source of 131 I is most likely medical, represents an accurate summary of the source?
Also, we cannot possible put every fact that we can find about a subject in WP. No doubt, we could find sources telling us millions of unimportant facts about this subject, for example that Joe Soap checked the source that he used back into the stores last Thursday at 11:30. Of course we do not add that information because it is not important, interesting, or surprising, just like the fact that investigators are continuing to check out a wide range of possible, but unlikely, sources for 131 I contamination. HF is not in any way singled out for special treatment by the source.
I have no personal connection or interest with gas, oil or HF although I do have some knowledge or radioactivity. If there was evidence that radioisotopes from HF were finding their way into drinking water, I would be the first to want to include it here but the facts to date show that this has never occurred. Martin Hogbin (talk) 11:06, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
What "facts" show it has never occurred? Cite your source for that can start by citing the source with data showing that the iodine-131 that they inject to map fractures magically disappears from flowback, and disappears from the fluid that stays under ground. What principle of radioactivity explains that? The Hogwart principle of radioactivity? Smm201`0 (talk) 06:28, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Your question is like asking me for evidence that the moon is not made of green cheese. The onus is on you to show any evidence that iodine-131 from HF is found in drinking water. So far you have produced none, although there are sources which show that iodine-131 in drinking water has other cause, one being that which you have just cited. Of course, it is impossible for me, or anyone else, to show that not one single atom of iodine-131 from HF has ever found its way into the water supply. The question we must ask ourselves is how likely is it that iodine-131 from HF will be found in drinking water in sufficient quantities to constitute a significant health hazard. There it is possible to apply a degree of knowledge and logic to the situation.

This article shows that that a typical injection of iodine-131 is 10 millicuries. Patients with thyroid cancer may have 20 times that amount (200 millicuries) injected directly into them (four times the total quantity typically held on a HF site). This does, of course, present a significant health risk to the patient but it helps put the figures into perspective. The 10 mC HF injection is diluted with a vast quantity of water so, even if a person were to drink the fracking fluid (do not try this at home) the dose they would received would be quite small. As it is, though, the fluid is is pumped deep underground, well below the level which is expected to return to the surface so it is very hard to see how any significant proportion of this could find its way into the water supply. There is little point in adding tracer to fracking fluid which is expected to be in the flowback.

Any iodine-131 that finds its way into the water supply needs to do so fairly quickly as it has a half life of around 8 days. So, after 8 days the 10 mC will have become 5 mC and in another 8 days 2.5 mC and so on. Medical radioiodine, on the other hand will be excreted directly into the waste water system where it could be quickly recycled.

Finally, at your insistence, this article contains a list of 11 other radioisotopes used in HF. Iodine-131 is not listed amongst those most frequently used yet no trace of any of the other substances has been reported in drinking water. The isotopes used in HF are chosen because they are readily detectable and identifiable. It is hard to see how iodine-131 could be the only substance to find its way from HF to drinking water is it not?

From another source that you have selectively quoted it is made clear that HF companies must conform to the ALARA principle and also demonstrate that no significant dose will be received by any member of the public from their activities. Martin Hogbin (talk) 15:10, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

The source I cite says that hf is being investigated as a potential source of the iodine-131 in Philly's driniking water, which is all that I have stated. FYI, they don't assess for the other radionuclides used. And yes, I have a source for that - the EPA web site. Smm201`0 (talk) 04:36, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
The facts I have stated above (which you have just ignored) show that it is exceedingly unlikely that HF is the source of iodine-131 in drinking water. The source supports this view. Adding that HF is being investigated as a source of iodine-131 in drinking water would be a total misrepresentation of the source and misleading to our readers. Martin Hogbin (talk) 14:07, 22 December 2013 (UTC)
I see that a number of misleading statements have been restored without discussion. Simply quoting sections of a source out of context does not help our readers in any way understand the real risks involved. Martin Hogbin (talk) 12:36, 24 March 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ a b Timothy A. Bartrand and Jeffrey S. Rosen (October 2013). Potential Impacts and Significance of Elevated 131 I on Drinking Water Sources [Project #4486] ORDER NUMBER: 4486 (PDF) (Report). Water Research Foundation. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
    • ^ "encyclopaedia" (online). Oxford English Dictionary (, Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
    • ^ "Encyclopedia". Archived from the original on 2007-08-03.  Glossary of Library Terms. Riverside City College, Digital Library/Learning Resource Center. Retrieved on: November 17, 2007.
    • ^ a b Hartmann, R. R. K.; James, Gregory (1998). Dictionary of Lexicography. Routledge. p. 48. ISBN 0-415-14143-5. Retrieved July 27, 2010.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
    • ^ Béjoint, Henri (2000). Modern Lexicography, pp. 30–31. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-829951-6
    • ^ encyclopaedia "Encyclopaedia" Check |url= value (help). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved July 27, 2010. An English lexicographer, H.W. Fowler, wrote in the preface to the first edition (1911) of The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English that a dictionary is concerned with the uses of words and phrases and with giving information about the things for which they stand only so far as current use of the words depends upon knowledge of those things. The emphasis in an encyclopedia is much more on the nature of the things for which the words and phrases stand. 
    • ^ Hartmann, R. R. K. (1998). Dictionary of Lexicography. Routledge. p. 49. ISBN 0-415-14143-5. Retrieved July 27, 2010. In contrast with linguistic information, encyclopedia material is more concerned with the description of objective realities than the words or phrases that refer to them. In practice, however, there is no hard and fast boundary between factual and lexical knowledge.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)