The impact of toxic waste from the energy industry

The energy industry is one of the economic engines of the U.S. economy. In states like Montana, it provides high-paying jobs for many people. But there are two sides to everything. Oil and gas operations also produce many byproducts. Some of these are hazardous. Recently, more light has been shed on the negative impacts oil and gas production has on workers and communities across the country.

Toxic byproducts

The oil and gas industries produce billions of gallons of toxic waste every year. It’s a number that’s so big, it’s difficult to comprehend. The waste is largely brine, a salty slurry. Oil and gas extraction operations produce about 10 times as much brine as they do fuel. All that waste is mildly radioactive, and it has to go somewhere. Usually, it is trucked away and put right back into the ground.

Serious health risks

Some people who transport and handle these waste products have developed serious health problems, including various types of cancer. Others have problems that are harder to pin down. Injuries heal more slowly, or sores develop on their skin for seemingly no reason. Although on worksites, people are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), like steel-toed boots, there’s nothing to prevent them from inhaling fumes containing things like radium.

The health effects of this exposure are serious. So far, there has been little cooperation between public health authorities and the companies producing the waste. At least one driver has collected samples on his own and passed them on to a university research center.

If you or a loved one have been affected by waste from oil and gas production, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney. An experienced lawyer may help you initiate a personal injury case. Damages can help cover medical and other expenses.