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SILICOSIS

What is Silicosis

Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz.

Over time, exposure to silica particles causes scarring in the lungs, which can harm your ability to breathe.

Silicosis is caused by exposure to crystalline silica, which comes from chipping, cutting, drilling, or grinding soil, sand, granite, or other minerals. Any occupation where the earth’s crust is disturbed can cause silicosis. A long list of occupations are known that expose workers to crystalline silica that is inhaled.

Occupations Related to Silicosis Include:

  • Various forms of mining, such as coal and hard rock mining
  • Construction work
  • Tunnel work
  • Masonry
  • Sand blasting
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Ceramics work
  • Steel industry work
  • Quarrying
  • Stone cutting

Types of Silicosis

There are three types of silicosis: acute, chronic, and accelerated. About two million U.S. workers remain potentially exposed to occupational silica.

Silicosis can develop within a few weeks to even decades after exposure.

If you work or have worked in an occupation with exposure to inhaled silica and have a cough, phlegm, or breathing difficulty, you should be evaluated for silicosis.

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