Workers inhale dangerous amounts of fracking dust, study finds

Jul 30, 2012

A study by the National Institute of Occupational Safety found that workers involved with hydraulic fracturing are often exposed to dangerously high levels of silica.

Silica sand is used in fracking fluid, and breathing dust from the material can cause lung diseases and cancer.

The sites that were monitored for the study were all outside Wyoming, but John Robitaille with the Petroleum Association of Wyoming says companies here still need to take the matter seriously.

“We should still take measures to protect our people even if they’re not at the same exposure levels that they are in other areas,” Robitaille said.

Nearly one-third of the samples showed silica levels at least 10 times above the recommended limits.

Robitaille says to reduce exposure to silica dust, workers could wear face masks, and companies could apply water to roads and well sites.