Silicosis is caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust. Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite and most types of rock, and is used as an abrasive blasting agent.
The effects of Silicosis include lung cancer, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and skin/renal disease.
Symptoms of Silicosis include shortness of breath, fever, fatigue, chest pain, ongoing cough, and respiratory failure.
Sources of silica dust include sandblasting, crushing/drilling rock and concrete, masonry and concrete work, demolition work, and cement/asphalt manufacturing.
When exposure to silica dust exceeds the exposure limits, engineering controls are the preferred method for controlling exposure. Typical controls may include
- Local/General exhaust ventilation
- Vacuum methods with HEPA filtration
- Dust control products
- Use of water to keep dust out of the breathing zone