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Tulsa Personal Injury Lawyers > Blog > Oilfield Pollution > Are You Suffering from an Illness Caused by Oil-Field Soil Pollution?

Are You Suffering from an Illness Caused by Oil-Field Soil Pollution?


In a previous post, we discussed the dangers of oil-field air pollution not only for workers, but for  residents who live near oil and gas drilling sites. Unfortunately, pollution of the air is not the only negative repercussion that comes with the drilling, refining, and transportation of oil and gas. Soil pollution, for instance, is also a very real concern for those who live near oil wells and refineries.

What is Oil-Field Soil Pollution? 

Oil-field soil pollution can occur when crude oil and its refined products are spilled during extraction, transportation, and storage operations. This kind of spillage can cause dangerous substances to leak or otherwise come into contact with the soil, including:

  • Petroleum hydrocarbons, which contain dangerous chemicals, like benzene, toluene, and naphthalene;
  • Metals;
  • Naturally occurring radioactive materials; and
  • Other toxic chemicals.

Another cause of soil pollution at oil-field sites is the storage of produced water, which contains high concentrations of salts and contaminates, in pits and evaporation ponds. This water often then leaks into the nearby soil, killing vegetation and sterilizing the soil itself. Besides causing environmental damage and impeding the growth of vegetation, introducing these kinds of substances into the soil can cause significant health risks due to the ability of contaminants to enter into the food chain. Furthermore, contaminants in the soil don’t always stay put, but can release into the groundwater or into the air, posing a further risk to nearby residents.

The Dangers of Exposure to Soil Contaminants 

Being exposed to soil contaminants is dangerous not only for those who work at oil and gas drilling, storage, and transportation sites, but for those who live near such sites. Inhalation of oil contaminants is particularly common in oil and gas workers. This does not, however, mean that these are the only individuals who are at risk of inhaling dangerous contaminants, as toxic elements in soils have been shown to be a risk to local populations, as well as oil and gas industry employees. Children in particular are vulnerable to inhaling contaminated soil particles due to their playing habits, which often involve direct contact with the soil. Soil contaminants can also enter our bodies through the skin, where they enter into the circulatory system for distribution throughout the body.

The inhalation of inorganic soil contaminants have been linked to respiratory problems, chest pain and tightness, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers. Dermal exposure to contaminated soil, on the other hand, is more likely to cause skin problems, like dermatitis, allergic reactions, and even skin cancer.

We Handle Statewide Oklahoma Oil-Field Pollution Injury Cases 

Oil-field pollution is a serious problem in Oklahoma, where the oil and gas industry has a heavy presence. Unfortunately, oil-field drilling activities can cause pollution, which in turn poses a very real health risk to workers and nearby residents. If you or your family were injured due to your proximity to an oil-field, drilling site, or refinery, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. To learn more about filing a claim, please call the experienced Tulsa oil-field pollution lawyers at Levinson Law, P.C. today.




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