Crystalline silica is a natural compound in the earth's crust and is a basic component of sand and granite. Silicosis
is an incurable disease of the lungs
caused by breathing crystalline silica dust. This dust can cause scar tissue to form in the lungs, which reduces the lungs' ability to extract oxygen from the air. Each year, two million workers
in the U.S. are exposed to silica, with nearly 300 dying of silicosis. In addition to silicosis, inhalation of silica dust has been associated with bronchitis
and lung cancer
Some industries and activities that pose the greatest potential risk for exposure to silica dust include, but are not limited to, construction
(sandblasting, rock drilling, masonry work, jack hammering, tunneling), mining
(cutting or drilling through sandstone and granite), foundry work (grinding, moldings, shakeout, core room), ceramics, clay, pottery, stone cutting (sawing, abrasive blasting, chipping, grinding), glass manufacturing, agriculture, shipyards (abrasive blasting), railroad
(setting and laying track), manufacturing and use of abrasives, and manufacturing of soaps and detergents.
In addition, the CBS's news program "60 Minutes II" recently reported that African-American members of the U.S. Navy may have been exposed to excessive levels of silica. Apparently, these servicemen were exposed to the substance while performing maintenance on aircraft carrier decks.
See your doctor if you have experienced serious health problems because of silica exposure. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
- Toxic & Hazardous Substances
- Bronchitis: Overview
- Lung Cancer: Overview
- Silicosis: Overview
- Tuberculosis: Overview