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Fracking may expose oilfield workers to toxic exposure

In this blog, we have previously discussed the ever expanding use of a process called hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, which is being employed as a means of extracting oil up from the ground. Fracking has taken hold in Texas and other states throughout the United States. Its implementation has created an abundance of new jobs and put billions of dollars of revenue in local and state coffers.

On the flip-side of this good news are safety concerns regarding the possibility of severe environmental hazards related to fracking. The fear is that oil and gas companies may be responsible for the release of airborne toxins due to the process.

Fracking often incorporates the use of potentially harmful elements. These elements may include carbon disulfide and benzene, both of which are termed volatile organic compounds. Perhaps most problematic is a compound called hydrogen sulfide. Throughout the last decade in Texas, 10 oil field workers have died due to hydrogen sulfide exposure.

One would hope that the Texas state government would take strong measures to address this issue by financing and strongly empowering the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to conduct thorough investigations. Unfortunately, between the years 2008 and 2013 there was a 39 percent funding decrease set upon the TCEQ. In addition, the Texas legislature has voted down various bills designed to reinforce regulations.

The current conditions found on some fracking sites in Texas may leave many oilfield workers vulnerable to toxic exposure. The companies, which are experiencing such financial good fortune during this boom period, must be cognizant of the fact that the processes they are using, if not carefully deployed, can create grave health risks for their hard working employees.

Therefore, they should take every precaution to minimize the risk of leakage of airborne toxins. Additionally the companies should also see to it that the workers are outfitted with proper protective gear when on fracking sites.

If you ever suffer from exposure to toxic elements found on an oil drilling site, you should consider the possibility of contacting a Texas injury lawyer who has familiarity with investigating accidents and filing claims for compensation.

Source: inv.com, "Weak Environmental Regulations in TX, PA Endanger Public Health," Andrew Gripp, June 23, 2014

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