Are You Ready for OSHA's New Crystalline Silica Rule?

About Respirable Silica

What is it?

Crystalline silica is an abundant natural material found in soil, stone and sand. It is also present in many construction materials such as brick, mortar and concrete. It becomes respirable when any of the afore-mentioned materials are cut or broken down into fine particles.

Who is exposed?

More than 85% of workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica work in the construction industry. Other industries where workers are exposed include: asphalt roofing materials, concrete products, cut stone, dental laboratories, foundries, jewelry, porcelain enameling, pottery, railroads, ready-mix concrete, shipyards, structural clay products, and support activities for oil and gas operations.

What are the effects?

Below are some of the illnesses that can be caused by excessive inhalation of crystalline silica:

 

  • Silicosis – a disease where the lungs react to trapped particles of silica by scarring and forming hard nodules. When these nodules become large, it becomes difficult to breathe and can result in death. Silicosis is irreversible and continues to worsen even after exposure has ceased.
  • Lung Cancer
  • Tuberculosis (increased risk for those with silicosis)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

find out how this affects you:

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