WORKERS EXPOSED TO HIGH LEVELS OF CRYSTALLINE SILICA DUST DURING HYDRAULIC FRACKING


Field studies conducted in Arkansas, Colorado, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Texas {USA} by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health {NIOSH, USA} have identified worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica at levels well above PEL and REL during hydraulic fracturing operations.

 

" " These workers are subject to developing silicosis, a lung disease where lung tissue around trapped silica particles reacts, causing inflammation and scarring and reducing the lungs' ability to take in oxygen. Silica can also cause lung cancer and has been linked to other diseases, such as tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney, and autoimmune disease. " "

 

The General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act and OSHA's General Industry Standards (29 CFR 1910) grant to them jurisdiction over occupational health and safety matters.

 

" " Employers are required to take actions to reduce worker exposures if air samples show levels above OSHA’s calculated Permissible Exposure Limit {PEL}. The OSHA PEL is the legally enforceable regulatory limit. The NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit {REL} is a non-mandatory, recommended occupational exposure limit. However, because OSHA recognizes that many of its PELs are outdated and inadequate measures of worker safety, both OSHA and NIOSH recommend that employers take actions to keep worker exposures below the NIOSH REL. " "

 

 

https://www.osha.gov/dts/hazardalerts/hydraulic_frac_hazard_alert.html

 

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/silica/

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