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Ohio Utica Shale

Fracking dust poses biggest threat

By Bob Downing Published: May 1, 2012

Bloomberg News reports that a federal government researcher says sand dust from hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from rock is one of the biggest threats to workers at drilling sites.

About 80 percent of air samples from well sites in five states exceeded recommended limits for silica particles, said Eric Esswein, an industrial hygenist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The dust particle can lodge in the lungs and cause potentially fatal silicosis, he said at a Monday conference.

Drilling companies and workers need to do a better job dealing with sand particles, he said.

The companies do a better job dealing with toxic chemicals at drilling sites, he said.

Esswein's team visited well sites in Texas, Colorado, Arkansas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania in 2010-2011.

"There is a big focus on safety at well sites," he said. "There isn't as much emphasis on health. We call it the big S and the Little H."




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Utica and Marcellus shale web sites

Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.