Controlling silica dust exposure at fracturing sites

Fracking - WildEarth Guardians - FlickrDustPRO from US-based DustPRO, LLC is a silica dust-control solution developed by the Preferred Sands technology team in collaboration with The Dow Chemical Company

Oil sands, where hydraulic fracturing is used to obtain oil, are spread throughout the Middle East but are not yet a properly explored source of oil in the region.

DustPRO reduces crystalline silica exposure during all sand transfer points in a cost-effective and environmentally safe way. According to a report in MarketWatch, results from industrial hygiene tests conducted at four different fracturing sites in the USA showed that 68 out of the 99 samples were significantly below the country’s current Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) permissible exposure limits of 100 g per cu/m.

Silica dust exposure is a significant issue faced by the oil and gas industry worldwide. A 2013 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study collected 111 air samples from 11 hydraulic fracturing sites across five states in the USA. The NIOSH study found that 51 per cent of the samples collected exceeded OSHA’s current permissible exposure limits.

DustPRO was initially introduced in 2014 as a product from Preferred Sands but has since grown into its own company. DustPRO can currently deliver up to three million metric tonnes (mmt) a year and has plans to scale up to 20 mmt a year by the end of 2015.

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