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This website is maintained by the Law Offices of Dean Malone, P.C., a Dallas, Texas law firm representing people across Texas for work injury cases. We have attempted to provide useful information for those harmed by work injuries.

Texas Work Accident Injury Lawyer – Health Hazards in the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry – Part 6

Monday, June 15th, 2015
Quartz is a common crystalline mineral made of...

Quartz is a common crystalline mineral made of silica, or silicon dioxide ( Si O 2 ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The United States Department of Labor’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has identified exposure to airborne silica as a serious health hazard to employees conducting some of the hydraulic fracturing operations.

In recent years, technologies improved which made natural gas and oil deposits more accessible. That technology is, namely, the new horizontal drilling and multi-stage fracking. The process involves pumping large volumes of sand and water into a well at a high pressure to fracture shale and other tight formations, which is effective at allowing gas and oil to flow into the well.

Workers are exposed to high levels of respirable crystalline silica (referred to as “silica”) during the process of hydraulic fracturing.

Crystalline silica is found in the earth’s crust, and it is a common mineral. It most often occurs as quartz and is also a major component of the stone, clay, and sand materials used to make everyday products such as glass, brick, and concrete. Respirable crystalline silica is the part of the crystalline silica that is tiny enough to enter the gas-exchange parts of the lungs, if it is inhaled. This includes particles with aerodynamic diameters of less than about 10 micrometers.

Learn more about dangers to workers involved in fracking; see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5 of this continuing series. There are seven primary sources of silica dust exposure that endangers workers during fracking operations, which is covered next in this series. There will also be more specific information about the danger of inhaling silica.

–Guest Contributor

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