Inhalation of respirable crystalline silica particles has long been known to cause silicosis, a disabling, non-reversible and sometimes fatal lung disease. Respirable crystalline silica also causes lung cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has designated crystalline silica as carcinogenic to humans, and the U.S. National Toxicology Program has concluded that respirable crystalline silica is known to be a human carcinogen. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has also recommended that respirable crystalline silica be considered a potential occupational carcinogen. In addition, exposure to respirable crystalline silica has been associated with other respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (including bronchitis and emphysema), as well as kidney and immune system diseases.
- Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Publication No. 2002-129, (2002, April).
- Current Trends Occupational Silicosis – Ohio, 1989-1994. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) 44(04);61-64, (1995, February 3). Describes the investigation of a report of occupational silicosis in Ohio and summarizes the impact of hospital-based reporting on surveillance for silicosis in Ohio during 1989-1994.
Report on Carcinogens (RoC). US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Toxicology Program (NTP). Identifies and discusses agents, substances, mixtures, or exposure circumstances that may pose a health hazard due to their carcinogenicity. The listing of substances in the RoC only indicates a potential hazard and does not establish the exposure conditions that would pose cancer risks to individuals.
- Silica, Crystalline (Respirable Size) [129 KB PDF, 2 pages]. NTP classification: Known to be a human carcinogen.
- International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks for Humans [4 MB PDF, 287 pages]. World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, (2006). IARC Classification: Carcinogenic to humans (Group 1).
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