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The Americas Silicosis Initiative.
CDC Global Health E-Brief 2007 Dec; :5
When Chilean artisans worked in the past, they used hand tools to artfully shape and cut stone. Today, craftsman working in small open-air settings with two to four workers, use power tools for the same tasks. While efficient, these contemporary tools pose a major health risk by generating dust with high levels of airborne crystalline silica. When workers breathe in this dust, it can result in silicosis, a serious but preventable lung disease. Occupational exposure to crystalline silica inhaled in the lungs is also associated with lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis and airway diseases, and may be related to the development of autoimmune disorders, chronic renal disease, and other adverse health effects. Concerned about these threats, the Chilean National Institute for Public Health (ISP) invited three industrial hygienists from CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to examine high-risk work conditions among ornamental stone carvers in Pelequén, Chile. A NIOSH industrial hygienist said the silica dust levels were some of the highest I've seen anywhere in the world and there were no controls to prevent silicosis. NIOSH plans to assist ISP in implementing interventions to introduce dust control measures in these small shops. NIOSH has expertise in all aspects of silica measurement, including control of exposure, diagnosis, treatment and medical surveillance of silica-related diseases. This expertise is sought by international and national organizations to address the problems in developed and developing countries, where occupational silicosis is believed to be widespread.
Stone-processing; Quartz-dust; Silica-dusts; Airborne-particles; Airborne-dusts; Dust-exposure; Particulate-dust; Silicosis; Occupational-exposure; Lung-cancer; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-system-disorders; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-limits; Surveillance-programs
Newsletter; Trade; Lay Publication
CDC Global Health E-Brief Newsletter
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division