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This document may not reflect OSHA's respirable silica rule published on March 25, 2016.
For more information on the new rule, see OSHA's Respirable Crystalline Silica Safety and Health Topics Page.

Silica, Crystalline Quartz (Respirable Fraction)

General Description

Synonyms:  Quartz

OSHA IMIS code: 9000 (reported as individual polymorphs prior to 2016 – quartz 9010 (IMIS History: Silica [Quartz, respirable] prior to 9/1/89))

CAS number(s): 14808-60-7

Exposure Limits and Health Effects (Updated September 6, 2012)

Standard Set By Exposure Limit Health Effect Codes -- Health Effects and Target Organs
OSHA PEL - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-3
250 mppcf
%SiO2+5
10 mg/m3
%SiO2+2
HE10 -- silicosis
OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A
250 mppcf
%SiO2+2
HE10 -- silicosis
OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z - Shipyards
250 mppcf
%SiO2+2
HE10 -- silicosis
NIOSH REL Silica, crystalline (as respirable dust) [14808-60-7]: 0.05 mg/m3 TWA
Ca
See Appendix A
HE10 -- silicosis
ACGIH TLV® (2009) Silica, crystalline - α-quartz [1317-95-9; 14808-60-7] and cristobalite [14464-46-1]: 0.025 mg/m3 (25 μg/m3) (respirable particulate matter) TWA
A2
HE2 -- lung cancer
HE10 -- silicosis
CAL/OSHA PELs Silica, crystalline, respirable dust: Quartz [14808-60-7]: 0.1 mg/m3 (100 μg/m3) TWA  

mppcf = Millions of particles per cubic foot of air

Carcinogenic classification:

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established

ATSDR Inhalation Minimal Risk Levels (MRLs): Not established

NIOSH IDLH concentration: 50 mg/m3

Notes on other potential health effects and hazards:

  1. Silicosis increases risk of tuberculosis and other respiratory diseases (American Thoracic Society 1997).
  2. Exposure to the respirable fraction of crystalline quartz may promote autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus (Parks et al. 1999).
  3. Extrapulmonary silicosis has also been found, where lesions spread to the liver, spleen, kidneys, bone marrow, and extrathoracic lymph nodes (IARC 1997).

Partial reference list:

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Silica, Crystalline - Alpha Quartz and Cristobalite. 2016.
  • American Thoracic Society. Adverse effects of crystalline silica exposure. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 155:761-768, 1997.
  • IARC: Monographs on the Evaluation of the Carcinogenic Risk of Chemicals to Man. Geneva: World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1972-PRESENT. (Multivolume work). p. V68, 183, 1997.
  • NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended StandardOccupational Exposure to Crystalline Silica. 1974.
  • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Crystalline Silica. 1978.
  • NIOSH/CEC/IPCS: International Chemical Safety CardsQuartz. 2010.
  • Parks, C.G., Conrad, K., Cooper, G.S.: Occupational exposure to crystalline silica and autoimmune disease. Environ Health Perspect. 107 Suppl 5:793-802, Oct 1999.

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