Government researchers are warning that workers at hydraulic fracturing sites are at risk of being exposed to high levels of benzene, a known carcinogen that can cause leukemia and other forms of cancer. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the findings of a study in 2014 evaluating the risk of chemical exposures that workers are likely to face during hydraulic fracturing, which is a controversial process of extracting natural gas from underground pockets. According to the CDC fracking study, when extracting the liquids used to crack open shale and bedrock to free trapped pockets of gas, hydraulic fracturing also brings up naturally occurring, and sometimes dangerous, substances from underground.
The study was conducted by researchers from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which conducted air sampling of personal breathing zones and biological monitoring of workers who dealt with flowback liquids, which are stored in special tanks. “In addition to the mixture originally injected, returning process fluids ‘flowback’ can contain a number of naturally occurring materials originating from within the earth, including hydrocarbons such as benzene.” Out of 17 samples of personal breathing zones and biological monitoring, 15 of those showed levels of benzene exceeding NIOSH standards of 0.1 parts per million (ppm) and averaged at more than double that, 0.25 ppm. The study did not determine what risks there might be for local residents near fracking sites.
Benzene is an industrial chemical that is used as a solvent in the production of drugs, synthetics and dyes. It has also been used as a gasoline additive, although limits have been placed on its use in fuel due to benzene’s negative health effects. Exposure to benzene has been associated with the development of several fatal forms of cancer, leukemia and other conditions, such as Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML), Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML), Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL), Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL), Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDL), Myelofibrosis and Myeloid Metaplasia, Aplastic Anemia and Thrombocytopenic Purpura.
John Tomlinson, a lawyer in our Toxic Torts Section, is handling Benzene exposure cases for our firm. If you need more information on this contact John at 800-898-2034 or by email at John.Tomlinson@beasleyallen.com.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.