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Hydraulic fracturing: are there worker health issues?

Authors
Kaden-D; McClellan-RO; Snawder-JE; Nocco-RA; Finn-M; Naufal-Z
Source
Toxicologist 2014 Mar; 138(1):465
NIOSHTIC No.
20043934
Abstract
Use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the US oil and gas (O&G) industry has expanded, with >500,000 workers in this industry in 2013. As with any industry, the workforce has the greatest potential for exposure to contaminants. Furthermore, due to the rapid expansion and need to work at multiple locations, many workers remain transient and work at different sites, often owned by different operators, which can lead to additional complexities when assessing exposures. O&G exploration using hydraulic fracturing has constantly evolved to increase efficiency in recovering oil and gas, which have market value, and further minimize any environmental and health hazards to workers and nearby residents. The highly sophisticated process holds potential hazards as high pressures are used transferring large volumes of water, sand (silica), and small quantities of specific chemicals from the surface to specific geologic structures. Extensive use is made of diesel-powered equipment. Current practices seek to recover and reuse injected fluids to minimize water consumption and the disposal of hazardous waste, including trace elements and naturally-occurring radioactive material. Toxicology and epidemiology have been used to guide improvements in technology (e.g., advanced diesel engines, fuels, and exhaust after-treatment to reduce diesel emissions of PM and NOx) and replace proppants/additives with more environmentally-friendly alternatives. Concern for occupational hazards, including minimizing exposure to noxious agents that may have immediate or long-term impact, is key to planning hydraulic fracturing operations.
Keywords
Toxicology; Exposure-levels; Oil-industry; Gas-industry; Hydraulic-equipment; Workers; Air-contamination; Risk-factors; Environmental-exposure; Environmental-health; Environmental-hazards; Health-hazards; Chemical-properties; Chemical-composition; Diesel-emissions; Diesel-exhausts; Diesel-engines; Hazards; Radioactive-materials; Epidemiology; Work-environment
Publication Date
20140301
Document Type
Abstract
Fiscal Year
2014
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
M032014
Issue of Publication
1
ISSN
1096-6080
NIOSH Division
DART
Priority Area
Mining: Oil and Gas Extraction
Source Name
The Toxicologist. Society of Toxicology 53rd Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, March 23-27, 2014, Phonex, Arizona
State
MA; CA; KY; NM; OH; AZ
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