Silica

Power tool use on materials that contain crystalline silica can quickly increase exposures to unsafe levels.
Power tool use on materials that contain crystalline silica can quickly increase exposures to unsafe levels.

Breathing in crystalline silica dust over time can lead to a disabling lung disease such as silicosis or lung cancer. Quartz is the most common type of crystalline silica mineral. Examples of industries or activities where harmful silica exposures may be present are:

  • Abrasive blasting with sand or when blasting against materials containing crystalline silica,
  • Agriculture: Using mechanized equipment that creates airborne dust from soil,
  • Construction: Cutting, sawing, drilling, and crushing of concrete, brick, block, rock, and stone products,
  • Foundries using sand products,
  • Granite countertop production,
  • Manufacturing glass, cement, brick, concrete block and many other products and materials,
  • Repairing and replacing refractory brick furnace linings,
  • Tunneling and mining
Employers are responsible for identifying and controlling workers' exposure to silica dust. Dusty operations can be successfully controlled through the use of wet or other methods of control.

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