Workers at natural gas drilling sites that used a drilling technique known as “fracking”, and residents who live nearby these sites may be at risk of developing silicosis or other respiratory diseases from the silica dust that is created by these wells. Millions of American workers and other citizens have been exposed to silica dust created by fracking sites.
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is a technique that makes it possible to drill for natural gas deposits that are contained in shale formations which were previously inaccessible to drilling. After a well is drilled into shale formations thousands of feet below ground, large amounts of water, chemicals, and silica sand are pumped into the well at high pressure, causing fractures to form in the rock. The sand that was pumped into the well holds these fractures open, allowing oil or natural gas to flow out of the well.
Although the U.S. has saved billions of dollars in energy costs thanks to the oil and natural gas that was made accessible due to fracking, health and environmental groups have begun to raise serious concerns about the effects that fracking is having both on the environment and the health of individual citizens.
In 2012, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) warned that the silica dust created during the fracking process could create serious health risks for workers and other individuals who live near fracking sites.
According to the groups’ warning, dust created by the silica sand used in the fracking process can become airborne. Anyone who inhales this dust is at risk of developing silicosis, a serious respiratory disease that causes permanent and debilitating inflammation in the lungs. Exposure to silica dust has been linked to a number of other respiratory diseases, including tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Individuals who have been diagnosed with silicosis or other respiratory diseases caused by exposure to silica dust may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the companies that were responsible for their exposure. According to the warning about fracking and silicosis, levels of airborne silica dust are higher than the maximum level allowed under NIOSH regulations at 79% of fracking sites that were studied by the group.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with silicosis after being exposed to airborne dust at a hydraulic fracturing site, you may qualify to file a lawsuit and seek compensation for your injuries. For a free legal consultation about your case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001. You can also reach us filling out the free case evaluation form located on this page, and one of our representatives will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your case.