OSHA Quick Card
Protect Yourself
Silicosis

Silicosis is caused by exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust. Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and most other types of rock, and it is used as an abrasive blasting agent. Silicosis is a progressive, disabling, and often fatal lung disease. Cigarette smoking adds to the lung damage caused by silica.

Effects of Silicosis
  • Lung cancer Silica has been classified as a human lung carcinogen.
  • Bronchitis/Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder.
  • Tuberculosis Silicosis makes an individual more susceptible to TB.
  • Scleroderma a disease affecting skin, blood vessels, joints and skeletal muscles.
  • Possible renal disease.
Symptoms of Silicosis
  • Shortness of breath; possible fever.
  • Fatigue; loss of appetite.
  • Chest pain; dry, nonproductive cough.
  • Respiratory failure, which may eventually lead to death.
Sources of Exposure
  • Sandblasting for surface preparation.
  • Crushing and drilling rock and concrete.
  • Masonry and concrete work (e.g., building and road construction and repair).
  • Mining/tunneling; demolition work.
  • Cement and asphalt pavement manufacturing.
Preventing Silicosis
  • Use all available engineering controls such as blasting cabinets and local exhaust ventilation. Avoid using compressed air for cleaning surfaces.
  • Use water sprays, wet methods for cutting, chipping, drilling, sawing, grinding, etc.
  • Substitute non-crystalline silica blasting material.
  • Use respirators approved for protection against silica; if sandblasting, use abrasive blasting respirators.
  • Do not eat, drink or smoke near crystalline silica dust.
  • Wash hands and face before eating, drinking or smoking away from exposure area.

For more complete information:
OSHA Occupational
Safety and Health
Administration
U.S. Department of Labor
www.osha.gov (800) 321-OSHA

OSHA 3267-09N-05