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workers, building, architect

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

927Z4UBa - Global Silica Information Dissemination

Start Date: 10/1/2006
End Date: 9/30/2013

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Faye Rice
Phone: 513-533-8335
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: EID
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed

Secondary Goal Addressed


Attributed to Manufacturing


Project Description

Short Summary

The purpose of this project is to aid the PAHO/ILO/WHO silicosis elimination campaign by producing and disseminating useful and accessible information products that will educate our global partners in the areas of laboratory analysis of crystalline silica, assessment and control of silica dust exposures, and diagnosis, treatment, and surveillance of silica-related diseases. Project staff includes silica subject matter experts that will address requests for information from developing countries and will work together to develop NIOSH information products from existing information. The experts may also provide training or other technical assistance to health professionals in the developing countries.


NIOSH has produced publications in many formats that address silicosis prevention through respiratory protection programs, engineering and administrative controls, air sampling, laboratory analysis, medical surveillance, and other measures. To advance silicosis prevention efforts in developing countries, this information must be available in a form that can be easily located, accessed, and disseminated, as well as useful. It is the goal of this three-year project to produce such information products using existing information from NIOSH, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and other national and international agencies. Four areas will be addressed: 1) Laboratory analyses, 2) Exposure assessment, 3) Control of exposure, and 4) Surveillance/Diagnosis/Treatment.

In addition, project staff (NIOSH silica experts) may provide international technical assistance to the ILO/WHO Global Campaign to Eliminate Silicosis and the PAHO/ILO/WHO Americas Regional Plan to Eliminate Silicosis by training industrial hygienists, chemists, and others. Initially, we will determine the information priorities of our global partners relative to the above subject areas in order to direct the efforts of NIOSH project staff.


The primary objectives of this project are to: 1) review the existing NIOSH materials on laboratory analyses, exposure assessment, exposure control, and diagnosis and treatment, 2) determine what type of new NIOSH information product would best serve our international partners and thus support the ILO/WHO goal of silicosis elimination, 3) design and produce the products, 4) provide technical assistance and training to customers in developing countries, and 5) obtain feedback from partners and users that will assist us in evaluating and if needed, improving our products. Determination of the number of documents translated into other languages, web page postings of materials, and the number of countries that partner with WHO/ILO/PAHO and NIOSH in information sharing will provide further evaluation of the project.

Mission Relevance

Silicosis is an irreversible, but preventable, lung disease caused by occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica. At least 1.7 million United States workers are potentially exposed to respirable crystalline silica in a variety of industries and occupations, including mining and construction and many are exposed to concentrations that exceed limits defined by current regulations and standards. Millions of workers are exposed worldwide.

Assistance from NIOSH has been requested by the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Pan American Health Association (PAHO), and several Latin American countries. NIOSH silica experts are sharing knowledge to strengthen professional capacity in Latin American countries so they can take actions to reduce silicosis. This project is a joint approach that will provide technical assistance to control exposures to silica and develop a good practices information base and is one of the projects described under Strategic Goal 3 in Attachment 8 "Guidance for Developing Global Projects" of the NIOSH FY2006 Project Planning Guide, section "ILO/WHO Global Campaign to Eliminate Silicosis" (p. 80, second bullet). The project advances that campaign by providing information about silica dust control and silicosis prevention to developing countries. NIOSH subject matter experts and NIOSH information products developed through this project will be disseminated to those countries. In addition, as a WHO Collaborating Center, NIOSH contributes to the ILO/WHO Global Plan to Eliminate Silicosis and to the PAHO/ILO/WHO Americas Regional Plan to Eliminate Silicosis.

In addition to the strategic goals listed above (p. 12), the project contributes to these intermediate and activity/output program goals:

Mining Sector Intermediate Goal 1.4: Reduce the silica dust exposure of workers in metal and nonmetal mines and mills.

Cross-Sectors and other Programs

•Respiratory Disease Intermediate Goal 2.2: prevent and reduce silica-induced respiratory diseases, with primary focus in this intermediate goal on silicosis.

Activity/Output Goal 2.2.5: develop and improve control technologies to reduce or eliminate silica exposures across a range of occupational settings where silica is a known problem (mining, construction, abrasive blasting, foundries, dental laboratories, etc.) and in new occupational settings where silica exposure may appear as an emerging problem.

•Global Collaborations Intermediate Goal 2.1: The Ministries of Health and Labor in Chile involve private and public partners and develop a National Plan to Eliminate Silicosis.

Activity/Output Goal 2.1.1: Provide technical assistance requested in the 2004 Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Health, Chile, and NIOSH.

Intermediate Goal 2.2: The Chilean Institute of Public Health opens a laboratory to conduct Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy analyses of silica for countries in South America.

Activity/Output Goal 2.2.1: Provide guidance on purchase of analytic equipment and training for laboratory staff of the Institute of Public Health in Chile and for Censopas in Peru.

Intermediate Goal 2.3: The Chilean Institute of Public Health develops simple (control banding) guidance for small businesses to control exposures to silica.

Activity/Output Goal 2.3.1: Provide training in control banding techniques, technical assistance in small business visits, translations of Silica Essentials of the UK Health and Safety Executive, and reviews of guidance simplified by Chilean professionals for Chilean small businesses.

Intermediate Goal 2.4: The Chilean Institute of Public Health and national partners adopt a program for personal protective equipment for silica exposures.

Activity/Output Goal 2.4.1: Provide a draft personal protective program for small businesses, using input from Chilean partners.

Intermediate Goal 2.5: The Ministries of Health and Labor in Chile assume leadership of an Americas Initiative to Eliminate Silicosis involving five additional countries, the Pan American Health Association, and the International Labor Organization.

Activity/Output Goal 2.5.1: Provide technical assistance with Chilean and other South American partners for additional countries.

Intermediate Goal 2.6: The Pan American Health Association and the Ministry of Health of Chile adopt a plan for professional high level education of industrial hygienists and engineers.

Activity/Output Goal 2.6.1: Partner with WHO, ILO, PAHO and the countries to provide training courses and advice for the development of high level education of industrial hygienists and engineers.

Intermediate Goal 2.7: Government and private sector mines in Chile adopt new guidance to control silica exposures in mines.

Activity/Output Goal 2.7.1: Provide technical assistance and guidance to control silica exposures in mines.

Intermediate Goal 2.8: Chile and at least two other countries of Latin America adopt a Latin American Accreditation System for Radiographic Reading based on the ILO System.

Activity/Output Goal 2.8.1: Provide training and technical assistance with traditional and digital x-rays, and assist the development of a Latin American accreditation system for radiographic reading.