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A growing number of states are developing laws, regulations, and policy standards governing disposal of technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM) waste and/or naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) from high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF, or “fracking”). TENORM and NORM contain radioactive isotopes, Radium-226 and Radium-228, which decay further into radon. Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. Indeed, studies show that radon levels increased in Pennsylvania during the time period that the state had increased shale gas extraction using HVHF.

Given the rise of HVHF in the past decade, certain states began to enact measures to protect both the public and workers from radiation exposure involved in well operations, transport and storage of oil and gas wastes. While many states have statutory requirements in their general radiation provisions, certain oil and gas states developed or are considering developing provisions specifically impacting oil and gas operations that govern the disposal of TENORM or NORM disposal.

This dataset explores how states handle the disposal of TENORM and/or NORM waste from oil and gas operations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia in effect December 1, 2016.


Elizabeth Ann Glass Geltman, JD, LLM

Associate Professor, CUNY School of Public Health

Did you know?

As of January 2017, 18 states have developed provisions or a required permit governing the disposal of TENORM or NORM applicable to the oil and gas industry.

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Map Legend: State Included in research.