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Stop silicosis in sandblasters use silica substitutes.
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), Public Health Services Branch, Division of Epidemiology, Environmental and Occupational Health, Occupational Health Service, Occupational Health Surveillance Program
Trenton, NJ: New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (NJDHSS), 1994 Jan; :1-7
Something is still killing sandblasters. It is a lung disease called silicosis, and it is preventable. The disease and its cause have been recognized for decades; yet many sandblasters still contract this debilitating and deadly disease caused by the inhalation of silica sand dust. Because controlling a sandblaster's exposure to silica dust is apparently so difficult, one way of reducing the risk of silicosis to this segment of the work population is by substituting a less toxic material for silica sand during abrasive blasting operations. Great Britain and the European Economic Community have restricted the use of silica sand as an abrasive blasting material since 1949, and 1966, respectively. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has recommended since 1974 that silica sand (or other substances containing more than one percent free silica) be prohibited as an abrasive blasting material and that less hazardous substitutes be used. There are a number of materials available as alternative abrasive blasting media. The major substitute materials are listed inside this bulletin along with some information about each. Additional information regarding particular applications should be obtained from the distributors of the various substitute materials. Note that the cost per ton is misleading when compared to silica sand because many of the listed substitutes are recyclable and can therefore be reused. A more useful index of actual cost is price per square foot. A formula used in the industry to calculate the cost per square foot is presented on the last page of this bulletin. The real cost will vary depending on the particular application and factors associated with each job. When compared to silica sand in this manner, you will find that the costs of some silica substitutes are competitive. The health effects of many of the silica substitutes have not been determined, and the materials removed by abrasive blasting are often very hazardous. It is therefore important to remember that no matter what abrasive blasting material you use, you must still employ appropriate control measures (e.g. containment, ventilation, and filtration) as well as provide workers with training and effective personal protective equipment (e.g. respirators and clothing).
Respiratory-system-disorders; Respiration; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Pulmonary-function; Diseases; Humans; Men; Women; Public-health; Risk-factors; Employee-exposure; Employees; Employee-health; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Health-hazards; Personal-protection; Personal-protective-equipment; Hazards; Sensitization; Silicosis; Silicon-compounds; Silicates; Airborne-dusts; Silica-dusts; Silicosis; Bloodborne-pathogens; Repetitive-work; Noise; Hearing-loss; Sand-blasting; Sand-blasters; Training; Education
Stop silicosis in sandblasters use silica substitutes
New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services
Page last reviewed: November 27, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division