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.
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
The Toxicologist. Society of Toxicology 53rd Annual Meeting and ToxExpo, March 23-27, 2014, Phonex, Arizona