(RxWiki News) Crystalline silica is found in sand, stone and concrete. And around 2.3 million workers in the United States are exposed to it.
Also used to make glass, pottery, ceramics, bricks and artificial stone, crystalline silica may be more dangerous than you think.
You often hear about the lung health dangers of asbestos exposure. But the dangers of crystalline silica aren't talked about so much. The problem? Crystalline silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen.
During activities like sanding or drilling into concrete walls, manufacturing brick or concrete blocks, and cutting stone and glass, workers are exposed to silica dust. The dust is made up of very small silica particles that can be breathed into the lungs.
Workers who inhale these very small silica particles face an increased risk of developing serious diseases, including the following:
- Silicosis, an incurable lung disease that can lead to disability and death
- Lung cancer
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Kidney disease
The good news? You can protect yourself by controlling silica dust.
Refer to OSHA's standards for more information. And speak with your health care provider if you are concerned about your lung health.
Written by Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS