Natural gas is a focus of our nation’s push for energy independence, and we have a lot of it. That’s particularly true in Oklahoma, according to an Economic Research & Policy Institute report. For workers, the boom in hydraulic fracturing — “fracking” — brings jobs, but at what price?
Fracking is a dangerous job. In addition to the usual oilfield injuries, the fracking industry has some additional ones:
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals.Injection fluids used in fracking, such as benzene, toluene, nonylphenols and 2-ethanol or 2-methoxyethoxy, are known to be dangerous, especially with high or prolonged exposure. Some of these chemicals are linked to cancers such as leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
- Inhalation of silica dust. Frac sand is the crystalline silica used to hold fissures open so the gas can flow from the shale. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), inhalation of crystalline silica may lead to silicosis, an incurable and debilitating lung disease, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease and a higher risk of tuberculosis.
While some of these dangers can be mitigated, many hydraulic fracturing operations have yet to institute the types of controls that could reduce harm to workers. If you are suffering from an injury or occupational disease related to your job in the fracking industry, contact a Stipe Law Firm oilfield injury attorney to learn more about your rights and your options.