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Silica exposures for sandblasters: a web-based introduction to occupational epidemiology and industrial hygiene.

Lentz T; Malit B
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2002 Jun; :104
Exposure to airborne crystalline silica is a serious occupational hazard potentially affecting at least 1.7 million U.S. workers, many of whom are exposed to concentrations that exceed limits defined by current regulations and standards. Each year, more than 200 silicosis-associated deaths still occur, and an unknown number of workers continue to die from silica-related diseases such as pulmonary tuberculosis and lung cancer. Workers who perform abrasive blasting using silica sand are especially at risk for exposures to high concentrations of airborne crystalline silica. Focusing on sandblasters and the associated silica exposures, NIOSH researchers have developed an Internet-based educational model that presents occupational epidemiology and industrial hygiene concepts. The module was developed for the EXCITE program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessible via the Internet as an educational resource for high school teachers. The program is designed to introduce high school students to epidemiology and public health. Drawing from the example of an actual silicosis outbreak that occurred among sandblasters in Texas in 1988, the module describes how a multidisciplinary team of investigators traced the disease to an occupational exposure source. Students are challenged with questions about the investigation and possible strategies for addressing specific situations. Industrial hygiene is explained with an emphasis on the methods used to control and eliminate hazards. Illustrations are provided to indicate analytic techniques, engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and work practices. The module, which was writ- ten according to an easy-to-read format, pro- vides the basis for a NIOSH worker education publication to address the risk of silicosis for sandblasters and methods to control hazards.
Silica-dusts; Silicates; Sand-blasters; Epidemiology; Industrial-hygiene; Airborne-dusts; Airborne-particles; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-exposure; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-cancer; Diseases; Respiratory-system-disorders; Aerosols; Particulate-dust; Particulates
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 1-6, 2002, San Diego, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division