Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Frack Sand Blowin' in the Wind

Sand from a frack job in Sheshequin Township, Bradford County PA blows towards
  a home where children live, only 1,000 ft away. (photo from Carol French)

It takes a lot of sand to frack a gas well – about 4 million pounds of sand to prop open the newly created fractures in the rock to allow gas trapped in the shale to escape. The problem is, that sand is very fine… crystals of silica that, if inhaled, can contribute to a range of health problems. And you don’t have to be working the frack trucks to pay the price, some people are finding.

Some residents who live near the frack sand mines in Wisconsin have started suffering from asthma and other respiratory conditions. Other problems, such as silicosis and cancer, won’t show up for years or even decades. Federal safety standards protect workers, but not the general public who may be exposed to the sand unwittingly. While workers know they’re being exposed and have access to protective gear, children and other people don’t. And, as one environmental health expert discovered, in some cases the public is exposed to levels that exceed federal occupational health standards. Read more here.

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