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Hydraulic Fracturing is used across the country to tap previously unreachable oil and natural gas locked within deep rock formations. It involves the injection of water, silica sand, and small amounts of chemicals into wells so that oil and/or natural gas can flow out of the well. A 2010 study by NIOSH found there are worker exposures that need to be managed during this process. In 2012 OSHA/NIOSH published a Hazard Alert on ensuring workers in hydraulic fracturing operations have appropriate protection from silica exposure.
One of your first steps to determine if there are exposure issues is to perform personal air monitoring.
The current data indicate the following issues have the potential of being exposurehazards during Hydraulic Fracturing, and can be analyzed using the Basic Kit:
• Respirable Dust
• Silica Quartz
• Volatile Organic Compounds – Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylene (BTEX)
• Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)
Optional/Additional Potential Hazards:
• Diesel Particulate
• Acid Gases (HCl)
• Aldehydes – such as glutaraldehyde
• Metals – such as lead