There are dozens of issues to be aware of when on the job or at home. We’ve discussed an abundance of health dangers, from the common home mold problem up to the disregard of regulated protective equipment on the job site. This month, we wanted to touch on the risk of silica exposure that you may be facing in the workplace. Silica, or what others may refer to as silica dust, is a material talked about less frequently. However, it has the potential to harm up to millions of individuals each year.
We’ll be referring to silica as silica dust, which is the main form of it that induces the health effects we’ll be talking about. What is silica dust? It is a culmination of the airborne particles that result from work activities such as cutting, sanding, grinding, and more. These particles may contain all sorts of material you don’t want to breathe into your body. This includes wood, concrete, and sand, just to name a few.
How can silica exposure harm you?
Well, besides making it difficult to breathe normally, there are multiple diseases that can build up in the long term. Which, some may be irreversible. This includes lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), kidney disease, and several more we could list. One of the most common diseases is silicosis. Silicosis is the buildup of all these nasty materials that eventually lead to permanent scarring, which can put you at risk of hospitalization or sudden death. It even has different forms, with acute silicosis being the buildup of high silica exposure under two years to accelerated silicosis from a five to ten year buildup.
If you’re worried about silica exposure, we’ll run through some of the industries where it might be most common. This includes construction, farming, mining, and any other jobs that have similar actions with the work equipment and material.
There have been many steps taken throughout the past decade to protect workers in all industries. To protect yourself, make sure you’re always aware of what jobs may include silica dust in the air. If you are working within those jobs, make sure you’re washing your hands and face regularly throughout the day, wearing protective equipment such as respirators, and changing into a new pair of clothes after you’re finished. If you think you might have been exposed, a medical examination with an x-ray is a great step to preventing long term health effects.
Along with protection on the job, silica regulations were recently updated to help protect the general consensus of workers. Check out our past blog to read all about it. If you have any more questions about silica exposure, contact us directly! If you’re interested in any of our services, feel free to fill out the form on our contact page.