Following reports of high levels of worker exposure to crystalline silica due to the extensive use of sand at hydrofracking operations, two agencies that focus on occupational health have issued a hazard alert urging employers to protect workers from this respiratory hazard.
To understand the current boom in frack sand mining, the place to look is Wisconsin. What's happening in Wisconsin also shows how limited current information is regarding potential air quality and environmental health effects this industrial activity, which is a source of silica dust – a known human health hazard.
Public awareness of water-contamination concerns related to hydraulic fracturing has been growing. But one of the more pernicious and pervasive potential occupational fracking hazards may come from sand.