Category: Silica

Hazardous Exposures to Silica in Metal and Nonmetal Mining Indicate the Need for Better Prevention

  Mined raw materials, or products produced from them, are essential for all industries. Mining will remain an essential industry even with the shift to sustainable energy as critical minerals that will support the needs for zero-emission vehicles, carbon-free energy, and production of energy resources and everyday products must be mined. Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) Read More >

Posted on by Aaron L. Sussell, PhD, MPH, CIH®; Samantha E. Wilson, MS; and Alexander Johnson, MPH1 Comment

Modern Coal Miners Have Higher Death Rates From Lung Diseases Than Their Predecessors

Coal mine dust causes a range of lung diseases, collectively called coal mine dust lung diseases. Examples include coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP, a dust-induced scarring lung disease commonly called black lung), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and lung function impairment. All of these cause substantial morbidity (illness) and mortality (death) among affected coal miners.[1–5] Most Read More >

Posted on by Kirsten Almberg, PhD, and Robert Cohen, MD3 Comments

An Ancient Hazard in a 21st Century Workplace: The Power of Partnerships and Collaboration Investigating Respirable Crystalline Silica in Hydraulic Fracturing

  In 2013, NIOSH researchers published exposure assessment results for respirable crystalline silica in oil and gas extraction (OGE) workers performing hydraulic fracturing. The results were noteworthy; a previously unidentified but serious occupational exposure hazard was discovered, and risks were significant‒in some cases, personal breathing zone exposures exceeded 10 times the occupational exposure limits. This Read More >

Posted on by Eric J. Esswein, MSPH, CIH, FAIHA; CAPT Bradley King, PhD, MPH, CIH; and CAPT Ryan Hill, MPH2 Comments

A Physico-chemical and Toxicological Evaluation of Fracking Sand Dusts

  During hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a fluid is pumped under high pressure into a well bore to create fissures in the rock to facilitate the removal of gas. This fracking fluid contains a large number of ingredients, including water, chemical agents, and sand. The manipulation of sand at the well site creates respirable dust Read More >

Posted on by Jeffrey S. Fedan, PhD6 Comments

Protecting Machine Operators from Silica Dust: Enclosed Cabs

  Construction workers who operate heavy equipment such as excavators, bulldozers, cranes, and backhoes frequently generate large quantities of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust. Exposure to even small amounts of RCS over time can cause silicosis, lung cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other serious diseases. A recent study published in the American Read More >

Posted on by Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Alan Echt, DrPH, CIH; Scott Breloff, PhD; Elizabeth Garza, MPH, CPH; Christina Socias-Morales, DrPH; Jeanette Novakovich, PhD5 Comments


人造石檯面,又稱「石英石檯面」,由石英骨料和樹脂粘合劑聚合而成。這些材料的外觀與天然石材相似,正越來越廣泛地用於住宅建築和家居裝飾中。在 2010 年至 2018 年間,美國的石英石檯面進口量已增加了近 800%(美國國際貿易委員會)。人造石材含有的結晶矽可能比天然石材多得多(含量 > 90%,而花崗岩中含量 < 45%)(職業安全與健康管理局 [OSHA]/美國國家職業安全衛生研究所 [NIOSH] 危害警報)。諸如切割、打磨、拋光和鑽孔一類的作業有可能將危險含量的矽塵擴散到空氣中。吸入含矽的材料(例如人造石)粉塵會導致矽肺病。矽肺病由肺部疤痕引起,可導致永久性肺損傷,是一種漸進的、致人衰竭的、不可治愈的甚至是致命的疾病。   接觸矽塵會對製造、加工和安裝天然石材檯面和人造石檯面的工人帶來健康危害。矽肺病的症狀可包括咳嗽、疲勞、氣短或胸痛。在接觸可吸入的結晶矽塵長達 10 年或更長時間之後,通常會發生矽肺病。但是,密集的接觸會導致該病進展更快,還會導致更嚴重的肺病。除矽肺病外,吸入少量(「可吸入的」)結晶矽顆粒還會引發肺癌、慢性阻塞性肺病 (COPD) 和腎病,並且會伴發肺部感染、自身免疫性疾病和心血管受損。   先前在美國德克薩斯州曾報導過一例與人造石加工有關的矽肺病病例(Friedman,2015 年)。最近,在加利福尼亞州、科羅拉多州、華盛頓州和德克薩斯州的石材加工業工人中發現了 18 例矽肺病,其中兩例死亡(Rose 和 Heinzerling,2019 年)。這些工人中大多數從事人造石材料的作業,年齡大多不到 50 歲。以色列、西班牙和澳洲也曾報導過人造石工人中暴發矽肺病的情況(Kramer,2012 年;Perez-Alonso,2014 年;Hoy,2018 年;Leso,2019 年)。澳洲昆士蘭州為所有處於風險中的石材加工工人提供了醫學篩查,從中發現有 12% 的工人患上了矽肺病(Kirby,2019 年)。2018 年,美國已有近 9000 家公司和 96000 名員工從事石材加工業(美國勞工統計局的季度就業和工資普查)。由於這些員工中有許多人大概未進行過醫學檢查,因此美國很可能還有其他矽肺病病例仍未發現。   僱主必須為工人做好保護,確保他們不直接與結晶矽塵接觸。聯邦職業安全與健康管理局 (OSHA) 已簽發兩項可吸入的結晶矽塵標準,以為工人提供保護。施工標準 (29 CFR 1926.1153) 以及一般工業和海事作業標準 (29 CFR 1910.1053) 均於 2016 年 Read More >

Posted on by 由公共衛生碩士 Katelynn Dodd、醫學博士 Amy Heinzerling、醫學博士 Cecile Rose、理學碩士兼美國註冊工業衛生師 Carolyn Reeb-Whitaker,以及醫學博士及公共衛生碩士 Robert Harrison

Brote de silicosis entre los trabajadores de mesones de piedra de ingeniería en cuatro estados

Los mesones hechos con piedras de ingeniería, que también se llaman “superficies de cuarzo”, se producen fusionando agregados de cuarzo con un aglutinante de resina. Estos materiales tienen una apariencia similar a la de la piedra natural y su uso se ha vuelto cada vez más popular en la construcción de casas y las mejoras Read More >

Posted on by Katelynn Dodd, MPH; Amy Heinzerling, MD; Cecile Rose, MD; Carolyn Reeb-Whitaker, MS, CIH; and Robert Harrison, MD, MPH

Outbreak of Silicosis among Engineered Stone Countertop Workers in Four States

Engineered stone countertops, also known as “quartz surfacing,” are made from quartz aggregate held together with a resin binder. These materials are similar in appearance to natural stone and have become increasingly popular for use in home building and home improvement. Quartz surface imports to the United States have increased approximately 800% during 2010–2018 (U.S. Read More >

Posted on by Katelynn Dodd, MPH; Amy Heinzerling, MD; Cecile Rose, MD; Carolyn Reeb-Whitaker, MS, CIH; and Robert Harrison, MD, MPH2 Comments

Twenty–Nine Year Summary of Silicosis in Michigan

Silicosis is a lung disease caused by exposure to airborne silica. Generally, it causes scarring (pulmonary fibrosis) after 20 or more years of exposure. Since 1988, Michigan has been identifying individuals who develop silicosis with the goal of targeting prevention actions. Michigan’s system is both the longest running and only comprehensive surveillance system for silicosis Read More >

Posted on by Kenneth D. Rosenman, MD and Mary Jo Reilly, MS8 Comments

Improving Occupational Safety and Health in the Construction and Mining Industries

With nearly 126 million full-time U.S. workers at risk of occupational illness and injury, it is critical to prioritize our research efforts to address the most important issues. One approach used by NIOSH and its partners to establish priorities is to consider the burden, need, and impact of potential research topics. This method allows us Read More >

Posted on by Scott Earnest, PhD, PE, CSP; Eileen P. Betit and Dana R. Willmer, PhD2 Comments

Occupational Health Issues in the USA

Happy New Year. As we start afresh in 2017 I wanted to share my recent editorial in the British journal, Occupational Medicine, “Occupational health issues in the USA”.  The article highlights some of the occupational safety and health issues identified as needing attention by the industry sector groups of the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).  Read More >

Posted on by John Howard, MD11 Comments

Silicosis Update

  Silicosis is a potentially fatal but preventable occupational lung disease caused by inhaling respirable particles containing crystalline silicon dioxide (silica). Quartz, a type of crystalline silica, is the second most abundant mineral in the earth’s crust and workers across a wide range of occupations and industries are exposed to silica-containing dusts. The risks, causes, Read More >

Posted on by Jacek Mazurek, MD, MS, PhD and David Weissman, MD 107 Comments

The Silica/Asphalt Milling Machine Partnership – All Good Things Need Not Come to an End

A recent ceremony at World of Asphalt 2015 celebrated the success of the Silica/Asphalt Milling Machine Partnership’s accomplishments to develop and validate engineering controls for silica dust in asphalt milling operations. The partnership between government, industry, labor was coordinated by the National Asphalt Pavement Association over the past decade to design, test, and implement engineering Read More >

Posted on by Duane Hammond, MS, PE4 Comments

Silica Hazards from Engineered Stone Countertops

A new engineered stone countertop product known as “quartz surfacing,” was created in the late 1980s by combining quartz aggregate with resins to create a product for use in home building and home improvement.  Manufacturing of this material, including products such as CaesarStone™, Silestone™, Zodiaq™, or Cambria™ is a fast growing industry.  First made in Read More >

Posted on by Karen Worthington, MS, RN, COHN-S; Margaret Filios, SM, RN; Mary Jo Reilly, MS; Robert Harrison, MD, MPH; and Kenneth D. Rosenman, MD 66 Comments

Worker Exposure to Crystalline Silica During Hydraulic Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing or “fracking”  is the process of injecting large volumes of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground at high pressure to break up shale formation allowing more efficient recovery of oil and gas.  This form of well stimulation has been used since the late 1940s, but has increased substantially over the last 10 Read More >

Posted on by Eric Esswein, MSPH; Max Kiefer, MS; John Snawder, PhD; and Michael Breitenstein, BS 27 Comments

The Continuing Persistence of Silicosis

Silica is the most abundant compound in the earth's crust. Inhalation of crystalline silica is the only cause of silicosis, a preventable but incurable type of lung fibrosis. Inhalation has also been associated with lung cancer, tuberculosis, COPD and other conditions.  Read More >

Posted on by David Weissman, MD, and Paul Schulte, PhD25 Comments