1. CJNelson says:

    Are you being paid to blog?

  2. coventree says:

    Silica Sand 101:
    We are not concerned with the sand grains themselves. They are harmless. We are concerned with the material that holds the sand grains together. That ‘glue’,so to speak, that allows the sand grains to ‘stick’ together to form the hill along with other materials found in soil. These are the particles concerning silicosis. In digging and blasting (blasting the most problematic) these particles are released into the air. Yes, farm fields yield dust but because this sand and dirt has been lying on top of the land it isn’t as dangerous The ‘glue’ is gone. Not all of it but most of it. Beach sand is silica. Again the glue isn’t there and the beach sand is usually wet causing it to pretty much ‘stay put’ and not blow around. This is very simplistic and i apologize if this explanation offends anyone looking for a PHD explanation. I think that if we were talking about one or a few mines we might only be concerned about workers. We are not concerned about one or a few. We are concerned with many mines within a few miles of each other. Take a look at a map of the mines. People have never been put into such a position to have mining on all side of their homes within a radius of a few miles. We really don’t know what is in the future for ourselves and our neighbors as far as health. I know that in the research from WHO, MSHA, NIOSH, EPA, and others there is widespread concern in breathing this dust.Because these particles are so small and cannot be seen and only through air monitoring can they be calculated I think that to error on the side of caution would be a .sensible path to take. I am not an alarmist but think that getting the facts correct in this new industry is appropriate. That would be without the name calling of someone who disagrees with me.

    • Ben Burnt says:

      Dear Coventree,

      If they give you any trouble about the glue being carbonate, tell them to look up the health hazards of mining soda ash (Na2CO3). There are plenty of guys in Soda Springs Idaho that can tell them “it ain’t no better than silica” Choose your poison!

      Ben Burnt

  3. Hey Ishmael!

    Check out the NIOSH study under Silica-Hazards on the web site.
    The goal was to determine the danger to workers of Crystalline Silica, but particles go where the wind blows and are not restricted to the mine/plant boundaries. Sand and gravel operations that you are familiar with only resemble frac sand mining in that they dig it up and cart it away. The frac sand operation is looking for particles of a specific size so the chunks of raw material are crushed, sifted and shuttled from place to place in the processing plant. It is a very dusty operation.
    Thus as the basic material comes out of the ground and is broken up into the little balls they are looking for, the glue that held the material together breaks into pieces so small that they can be carried by the wind for miles. This is the crystalline silica that we are worried about, not the finished product that the frackers use.

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