Silicosis is a disease caused by the prolonged breathing of crystalline silica dust. The fine particles are deposited in the lungs, causing thickening and scarring of the lung tissues. Crystalline silica dust can also cause lung cancer.
Crystalline silica is found in concrete, masonry, and most rock. The grinding, blasting, cutting and drilling of concrete and rock produces a fine dust that you do not want to breathe. When silica dust builds up in your lungs, you are at risk of developing a serious and irreversible lung disease called silicosis.
It may take workers 10 year to develop chronic silicosis, if they are exposed to small amounts of silica dust over a long period of exposure. However, workers may experience acute silicosis and develop symptoms within a few weeks if they are exposed to small amount of silica dust at a high concentration.
Symptoms of silicosis include:
- Shortness of breath
- Severe Cough
These symptoms can worsen over time and lead to death.
Employers must develop a silica exposure control plan. Click on the following link for a copy of a silica exposure control plan.