Toxic Torts

The Law Offices of James H. Horton represents residents and landowners in Dallas and throughout North Texas in toxic tort litigation against oil and gas companies involving groundwater, air, and noise pollution resulting from drilling and compressing operations.  If you have suffered the ill effects of these activities, contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

Drilling By-Products

Gas companies operating in the Barnett Shale area of Texas have been using hydraulic fracturing, where millions of gallons of chemical-laden fluids are pumped past ground water supplies to force more natural gas into the well.  About half of this toxic fracturing fluid remains in the ground while the other half is pumped out, only to evaporate into the local air or be injected back into the ground in local disposal wells.  Some experts estimate that these fracturing fluids contain as many as 600 chemicals, many of which are highly toxic.  Gas companies often ignore potential dangers and refer to this used chemical mud as "produced water."

Many people living near gas drilling sites or compressor stations have reported higher than normal occurrences of cancers, hearing loss (also called vibroacoustic disease), breathing difficulties, asthma, body aches, headaches, dizziness, and chronic fatigue.  Additionally, many landowners have discovered that drilling and compressing operations caused their land to have a greatly reduced value due to noise, odor, and diseases to residents, pets, and livestock. 

Piping and Compressor Cases

After drilling, the natural gas is then piped to market using a series of compressor stations.  These stations typically use large diesel engines to push the gas through the pipes while impurities in the gas are removed.  With very little oversight by state and federal authorities, these impurities are often allowed to escape at rates greatly exceeding established safe limits.  These toxic emissions include benzene, formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, carbon disulfide, xylenes, naphthalene and methane.  Benzene is a known carcinogen, while carbon disulfide exposure can cause depression, anxiety, and irritability, as well as liver and kidney disease. 

These engines are similar to being next to a diesel freight engine.  Some of our clients report that they must endure the loud vibrating noises of the compressor engines 24 hours a day.  When exposed to high-intensity, low-frequency sound, such as engine noise, the body is subjected to powerful vibrations.  This noise stressor can lead to a number of medical problems.


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