1. What is Crystalline Silica (Quartz) and in what materials is it commonly found in
Crystalline Silica (Quartz) is a component of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar.
2. Who is exposed to Crystalline Silica?
Anyone who works with the above materials is exposed. Operations such as cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing these materials would be at risk for silica exposure or silicosis. Workers also involved in sand products such as glass manufacturing, foundries, and sand blasting. Anyone who works with ceramics and stone in stone shops is exposed to silicosis. Manufacturing of soaps and detergents is also a source for silica exposure. More than 100,000 workers are exposed and are at high risk in the USA.
3. What is Silicosis?
Silicosis is a disease of the lungs due to the breathing of dust containing crystalline silica particles. This dust can cause fibrosis or scar tissue formations in the lungs that reduce the lung’s ability to work to extract oxygen from the air. There is no cure for this disease; prevention of the dust exposure is the only answer. According to the Secretary of Labor more than 250 people die from Silicosis in the United States per year. We have to work towards the exposure to silica by providing dust collectors that protects the worker’s breathing zone.