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Silica: hazard alert.

The Center to Protect Workers' Rights
Silver Spring, MD: The Center to Protect Workers' Rights, 2004 Dec; :1-2
One of the most dangerous kinds of dust you can breathe is crystalline silica. Silica is in sand, rock, masonry, concrete, and some paints. (Quartz is silica.) You can be exposed to silica when you work with these materials in abrasive blasting, cutting/sawing, jackhammering, grinding, drilling, crushing, or dry sweeping - or during demolition of concrete or masonry structures. The Hazards: In the lungs, silica can cause silicosis, which scars air sacs and keeps oxygen from getting in the blood. Silicosis can cause shortness of breath. Sometimes it can kill you. And it increases your chance of getting tuberculosis (TB) and lung cancer. Many industrial countries have restricted the use of silica sand for sandblasting. Silicosis usually takes about 20 years to develop, but you can get it after 5 to 10 years; it depends on how much silica you are exposed to and if you are protected. Or you can get silicosis after a few weeks if you work in thick clouds of crystalline silica and you are not protected. (This happened to tunnel workers who cut through hard rock and were not protected.) You can be in danger even if you do not see dust. Silicosis can get worse years after you are away from the dust.
Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-workers; Construction-equipment; Construction-materials; Silica-dusts; Silicates; Silicosis; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Work-environment; Work-practices; Worker-health; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Lung-cancer; Lung-disease; Lung-disorders; Disease-control; Disease-prevention; Respirators; Personal-protective-equipment; Abrasive-blasting; Abrasive-grinding; Grinding-equipment; Jack-hammers; Demolition-industry; Cements; Concretes; Masons; Sand-blasting; Sand-blasters; Tunnel-workers; Tunneling; Dust-exposure; Dust-inhalation; Dust-particles; Dusts
Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO: CPWR, Suite 1000, 8484 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910
7631-86-9; 14808-60-7
Publication Date
Document Type
Funding Type
Construction; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Priority Area
Source Name
Silica: Hazard Alert
Performing Organization
CPWR-The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, Maryland
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division