What is silica?

Silica, also known as “crystalline silica”, is a material found in the earth’s crust and is a component of sand, stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. Silica becomes hazardous to humans when it is converted into small particles or dust that is breathable.

What are the effects of silica on the human body?

1. Silicosis, a disabling, not-reversible and sometimes fatal lung disease
2. Other non-malignant respiratory diseases, such as chronic bronchitis
3. Lung cancer
4. Kidney disease, including nephritis and end-stage renal disease
5. Possible auto-immune disorders
6. Possible cardiovascular disease

What controls may be used to protect yourself from silica exposure?

1. Do not bypass, disable or misuse engineering controls such as blasting cabinets, water sprays, and local exhaust ventilation systems.
2. Always use the correct respirator and eye protection when silica dust is present
3. Never alter a respirator or use a respirator that does not fit or function properly
4. Apply water to silica dust producing material when cutting, sawing, drilling or crushing it, to reduce dust volumes
5. Take extra precautions to avoid silica when working in construction, concrete, foundry, abrasive blasting, painting, coating, glass, pottery, or rock yard atmospheres
6. Minimize the buildup of silica dust as much as possible
7. Avoid eating, drinking, using tobacco products, and applying cosmetics in areas where silica dust is present
8. Always wash hands and face before eating drinking, smoking, or applying cosmetics outside of the exposure area

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