To prevent silicosis in workers exposed to crystalline silica (14808607) during sandblasting, NIOSH has requested the assistance of editors of trade journals, health and safety officials, labor unions, and employers in disseminating information to workers who are at risk. Tasks performed by sandblasters included cleaning sand and irregularities from foundry castings; cleaning and removing paint from ship hulls, stone buildings, metal bridges and other metal surfaces; and finishing tombstones, etching or frosting glass, and performing certain artistic endeavors. This report included descriptions of silicosis, the health effects of crystalline silica exposure, and the practices used for respiratory protection. Restricting the use of silica in abrasive blasting and current exposure limits were discussed. An estimate of the number of exposed workers in the United States was given and five case reports were reviewed. The five case reports described 14 fatal cases of silicosis and 85 other cases of silicosis related to sandblasting. Several recommendations were offered which included prohibiting silica sand containing more than 1% crystalline silica being used as an abrasive blasting material, conducting air monitoring to measure worker exposures, using containment methods for protection, practicing good personal hygiene, wearing washable or disposable protective clothing, using respiratory protection, providing periodic medical examinations, posting signs to warn about the hazard, providing workers with training, and reporting all cases of silicosis to the proper authorities.
NIOSH Alert, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cincinnati, Ohio, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 92-102, 16 pages, 41 references