TF16B595KENTUCKY (10/27/16) — In recent decades, much has been done to improve workplace safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration instituted one such effort by requiring protective equipment to be used in the workplace.

That resolution aimed to limit silica dust inhalation, which can increase workers' risk for a potentially harmful disease known as silicosis.

A lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, silicosis mostly affects workers in the mining and glass manufacturing industries. People who work in foundries may also be vulnerable to silicosis. Understanding silicosis and its potential side effects can help workers protect themselves against this diseases that the American Lung Association notes accounts for more than 100 deaths per year in the United States alone.

What is silica?

Silica is a naturally-occurring crystal that is found in most rock beds. During activities such as mining, quarrying, glass manufacturing, and tunneling, silica dust can form. Exposure to that dust can cause scarring of the lungs that can affect a person's ability to breathe.

What causes silicosis and who is most vulnerable?

Exposure to crystalline silica and silica dust causes silicosis. The ALA notes that such exposure may result from chipping, cutting, drilling or grinding soil, sand, granite or other minerals. As a result, workers who work in certain industries are most vulnerable to silicosis. These industries include but are not limited to:

• mining (coal and hard rock)
• construction
• glass manufacturing
• steel
• ceramics
• masonry

Are there different types of silicosis?

There are three types of silicosis, and which type a person has can affect his or her prognosis.

• Chronic silicosis: The U.S. National Library of Medicine cites this as the most common form of silicosis. Chronic silicosis results from exposure to low amounts of silica dust for more than 20 years. Trouble breathing may occur in people with chronic silicosis, as silica dust can cause swelling in the lungs and chest lymph nodes. The ALA notes that chronic silicosis appears 10 to 30 years after exposure.

• Accelerated silicosis: Accelerated silicosis occurs after exposure to large amounts of silica in a five- to 15-year time period. Swelling in the lungs and associated symptoms of silicosis will occur faster in people with accelerated silicosis than those with chronic silicosis.

• Acute silicosis: Short-term exposure to very large amounts of silica can result in acute silicosis. Symptoms of acute silicosis, which can include fever, sharp chest pain and difficulty breathing, may appear suddenly. The lungs of people with acute silicosis may also fill with fluid, resulting in severe shortness of breath and low blood oxygen levels.

Can silicosis be prevented?

Workers who work in industries where exposure to silica and silica dust is a possibility should take every preventive measure possible to limit their exposure. Always wear protective gear and clothing, which the law requires employers in certain industries provide to their employees. Smokers who work in occupations vulnerable to silicosis should quit smoking, as smoking further damages and weakens the lungs. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends medical examinations before accepting employment in industries where silica exposure is possible, and examinations at least every three years thereafter.

More information about silicosis is available at www.lung.org.

SurfKY News

sitelogosm© Copyright 2008 - 2017 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission.

Click here to subscribe to receive daily updates by email.

Most Read This Week...

Jul 16, 2017 8830

Home Visit Leads to Meth Possession Arrests

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
Jul 17, 2017 8596

Man’s Alleged Attempt to Outrun Cops on Scooter Ends in Arrest

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
Jul 19, 2017 8432

Pickup Truck Strikes Pedestrian on South Main Crosswalk

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
Jul 16, 2017 7373

UPDATE: 33-Year-Old Man Victim of Fiery Crash into Building

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
Jul 19, 2017 7194

Henderson Teen Charged with Sex Crimes

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
Jul 19, 2017 6923

Car Crashes after Police Pursuit; 3 Occupants Go to Jail

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
Jul 20, 2017 6862

Pursuit Leads Deputy to Camper Trailer, 5 Arrested

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
Jul 16, 2017 6619

Heritage Christian Academy Hiring Teachers, Staff, Accepting Students

by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
Jul 18, 2017 5998

KSP Charges Man with Multiple Counts of Juvenile Rape, Sodomy

by SurfKY News Staff Report
Jul 17, 2017 5337

Tire Explosion Causes Serious Injury to Anton Worker

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
Jul 20, 2017 5276

Woman Crashes Car into 'Sorry Mom Tattoo' Parlor

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
Jul 18, 2017 5097

Drakesboro Man Charged with Meth Possession, Resisting Arrest

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Most Read This Month

Jul 09, 2017 33447

UPDATE: CCPD Releases Fatal Motorcycle Accident Information

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
Jul 14, 2017 29074

UPDATE 3: 5 Names Released from 6-Person Fatality

by SurfKY News Staff Report

Weather brought to you by

85°
29°
°F | °C
Partly Cloudy
Humidity: 79%
Fri
Partly Cloudy
76 | 99
24 | 37
Sat
Mostly Sunny
78 | 97
25 | 36
Sun
Thunderstorms
79 | 92
26 | 33
Mon
Thunderstorms
75 | 92
23 | 33

Stories Trending Today

KY603CloseHaydenRdOboro0717
Jul 16, 2017 11603

Closure on Ky. 603 in Daviess Co. Starts July 17

by SurfKY News
arrest2 green 300
Jul 16, 2017 8830

Home Visit Leads to Meth Possession Arrests

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
MPD Ross 7 17
Jul 17, 2017 8596

Man’s Alleged Attempt to Outrun Cops on Scooter Ends in Arrest

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
pedestrian hit red 300
Jul 19, 2017 8432

Pickup Truck Strikes Pedestrian on South Main Crosswalk

by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
fatal collision 3 300
Jul 17, 2017 7373

UPDATE: 33-Year-Old Man Victim of Fiery Crash into Building

by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director

Market Report

Market Report brought to you by