Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, made headlines for its link to contaminated water throughout various U.S. states and may now pose yet another health risk to those who work on fracking operations: crystalline silica exposure.
This new health risk was found by The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in its report, entitled NIOSH Field Effort to Assess Chemical Exposures in Oil and Gas Extraction Workers. The authors of the report collected 116 air samples at 11 hydraulic fracturing sites in Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and North Dakota. Their initial assessment found that exposure to crystalline silica during hydraulic fracturing was the biggest health risk to workers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
The significance of these findings is that even if workers are properly using half-mask air-purifying respirators, they would not be sufficiently protected because half-mask air-purifying respirators have a maximum use concentration of 10 times the occupational health exposure limit,” noted researchers.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by chemical exposure in the workplace, contact Sokolove Law for a free legal consultation and to find out if you have grounds to pursue legal action.