Not only asbestos, silica can also be a cause of death for construction workers, manufacturing, and mining. Quoted from hse.gov.uk, silica exposure has resulted in 789 deaths of workers in the UK each year. Silicosis, tuberculosis (TB), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and arthritis are a series of dangerous and even deadly diseases caused by exposure to silica. You can prevent this by using a dust mask. Get the best on on https://homepractical.com/best-dust-mask/ right now.
Actually, what is silica? Why is silica dust harmful to workers?
Silica is a mixture of minerals consisting of silicon and oxygen – there are two forms, crystal, and non-crystalline. The content of crystal silica can be found in construction materials or materials, such as concrete, bricks, rocks, sand, and clay. Materials containing crystalline silica are actually harmless unless there is cutting, drilling, blasting, or other processes that produce small particles (silica dust). Dust from a series of processes is what endangers workers’ health. Its size is 100 times smaller than beach sand, making silica dust as a silent killer for workers. The reason, silica dust is inhaled, can enter the lungs and cause damage. One of them can cause silicosis disease.
Often Inhaling Silica Dust, Vulnerable Workers Suspected Silicosis
Silicosis is a respiratory disease that occurs due to inhalation of silica dust, resulting in inflammation and scar tissue formation in the lungs. Silicosis is lethal, incurable, and sometimes fatal to the lungs. A total of 3,600 to 7,300 new cases occur in the United States each year. Unfortunately, only 2 out of 50 countries, New Jersey and Michigan, have surveillance programs to track cases of silicosis. As a result, many cases of silicosis are not reported and not correctly diagnosed.
Silicosis occurs when workers breathe dust of crystal silica, the tiny particles entering into and trapped in the lungs. This results in injuries to the lung tissue from small to large sizes known as nodules. The longer the nodule grows, the more likely it is that the patient has difficulty breathing. Symptoms of silicosis will not arise soon after workers breathe in silica dust. Symptoms usually occur after workers are exposed for 20-30 years. However, in the case of sandblasting, tunnel work, soap-making, or other types of work with high silica content, symptoms may occur in less than 10 years.