"Oilfields are spinning off thousands of tons of low-level radioactive trash as the U.S. drilling boom leads to a surge in illegal dumping and states debate how much landfills can safely take.
State regulators are caught between environmental and public health groups demanding more regulation and the industry, which says it’s already taking proper precautions. As scientists debate the impact of small amounts of radiation on cancer risks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says there’s not enough evidence to say what level is safe.
Left to police the waste, state governments are increasing their scrutiny of well operators. Pennsylvania and West Virginia are revising limits for acceptable radiation levels and strengthening disposal rules. North Dakota’s doing the same after finding piles of garbage bags filled with radioactive debris in an abandoned building this year."