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Control of silica exposure in sanitaryware plants.

Schoeborn-T; Caplan-P; Cooper-T
Ceram Ind 1990 Oct; :51-53
Researchers at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health teamed with investigators from the New Jersey Department of Health to survey a manufacturer of vitreous china lavatories and toilets. Overexposure to silica was known to exist at this facility because of reported silicosis cases. During the survey, lost-time injuries related to heavy lifting also were found to be a significant problem. The primary raw materials used in the plant surveyed consist of clay, feldspar and flint. In the production of a unit, clay slip is cast into a mold and dried. The dried casting is shaped, dried further, smoothed and trimmed. The cast piece receives one or more glaze coats containing crystalline silica prior to firing in a tunnel kiln. The clay slip and glaze contain approximately 15% to 25 % crystalline silica. All areas of the manufacturing portion of this plant had the potential for silica exposure. Environmental evaluations were conducted in several areas of the plant including the slip house, casting, glaze preparation and glaze spray departments. Both personal and area air samples were evaluated for respirable dust and crystalline silica content. In addition, bulk samples of raw materials and clay slip mixtures were collected and analyzed for crystalline silica. Real-time monitoring of dust exposures and simultaneous videotaping of work operations were used to evaluate sources of dust and to estimate excessive physical body stresses. From the observations of work practices and evaluation of environmental conditions, recommendations were made to change work practices and administrative procedures. The recommendations can be of use to other sanitaryware producers. When inhaled, the crystalline forms of silica can cause silicosis, a form of lung disease caused by the deposition of fine particles of crystalline silica in the lower portions (alveoli) of the lungs. Symptoms, which usually develop insidiously, include cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, weakness, wheezing and non-specific chest illness. Silicosis usually occurs after years of exposure, but my appear in a shorter time if exposures are very high.
Silica-dusts; Silicosis; Ceramics-industry; Ceramics; Injuries; Traumatic-injuries; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Pulmonary-disorders; Lung-disorders; Lung-disease; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Dust-exposure; Dust-inhalation; Dust-control
7631-86-9; 14808-60-7
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
NIOSH Division
Source Name
Ceramic Industry
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division