Fracking chemicals may be making oil more dangerous
2013-08-13 0:00

By Lindsay Abrams | Salon

"Crude oil is not supposed to explode"

Concerned over environmental and safety hazards, regulators have been demanding extra safety measures be put into place on trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota, Bloomberg reports.

The U.S. Federal Railroad Administration is investigating whether chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are corroding rail tank cars and increasing risks. Separately, three pipeline companies including Enbridge Inc. warned regulators that North Dakota oil with too much hydrogen sulfide, which is toxic and flammable, was reaching terminals and putting workers at risk.

Until last month, safety advocates’ chief worry was spills in derailments. After tanker cars blew up July 6 on a train in Quebec, investigators in Canada are considering whether the composition of the crude, which normally doesn’t explode, may have played a role in the accident that killed 47 people. The oil was from North Dakota’s Bakken shale.

The chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, could be contaminating the oil, according to some experts. Hydrochloric acid, for example, is highly corrosive, and could be damaging tanker cars’ interior surfaces.

Another concern is the highly flammable and toxic hydrogen sulfide, a byproduct of oil at some fracking sites...

[...]

Read the full article at: salon.com



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