Responding to the public's concern over radioactive contamination, the perceived need to protect the health of employees, the public, and the environment, and the need to control the spread of contaminated materials into commerce and unrestricted areas, have led regulatory agencies, both state and federal, to develop regulations for the control of NORM.

As a result, regulations for the control of NORM are being developed at an increasing pace by the petroleum producing states. At the present time, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas are the only states with NORM regulations in effect, but several others, including Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Oklahoma could have their regulations in effect during 1993. It is expected that the majority of the petroleum producing states will have regulations within two to three years.

The federal government is also considering regulations for the control of NORM, and it is probable that the Environmental Protection Agency will develop federal regulations for NORM control. Some of the Canadian provinces, e.g., British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan, will also have NORM regulations shortly.

There is still some controversy over acceptable exemption levels for radium. More data, particularly accurate measurements of radon emanation rates and better risk assessments for NORM exposures, are needed. The impact of the regulations on the petroleum industry will be very costly and will require some changes in operating procedures.

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