Silica, Crystalline

Worker cutting through bricks.

Millions of U.S. workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in a variety of industries and occupations, including construction, sandblasting, and mining. Silicosis, an irreversible but preventable disease, is the illness most closely associated with occupational exposure to the material, which also is known as silica dust. Occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica are associated with the development of silicosis, lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, and airways diseases. These exposures may also be related to the development of autoimmune disorders, chronic renal disease, and other adverse health effects.


Please note: For information about health effects from dust particles in environments outside of the workplace, see websites of the United States Environmental Protection Agency “Particulate Matter”external icon and the CDC “Air Pollution and Respiratory Health”.

Page last reviewed: July 17, 2013