As fracking spreads across the Marcellus shale formation and the rest of America with the White House’s support, a government researcher has announced today that sand dust emitted during hydraulic fracturing might be one “of the most dangerous threats to workers.”
Citing a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health scientist, Bloomberg Businessweek reports that “four out of five” air samples from wells “in five states in the past two years exceeded recommended limits for silica particles.”
These particles can get stuck in the lungs, and can lead to “potentially fatal silicosis.”
It’s still unclear whether the silica particles spread to the communities near these wells.
The oil and natural gas industry has shot back, claiming that mining and refining are among the safest occupations. But industrial health advocates say that while there is an emphasis on safety, that does not mean that health issues are actually addressed.
Today’s news marks yet another example of unaddressed health concerns related to fracking.
The reports also come as an EPA official resigned from his post today after a video surfaced in which he compared environmental enforcement to crucifixion — especially in the context of petroleum development.
Check back with the Voice for updates.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.