The Dangers Of Silica Dust

What Is Silica Dust?

Silica dust, otherwise known as crystalline silica, is a substance that can be found in various types of rock, stone, clay, gravel and sand – though the most common form is quartz.

It can also be found in many objects such as tile, brick or concrete. When these objects are being worked on, they can release respirable crystalline silica (RCS) or silica dust, as it is more commonly known as.

Industries that use Silica

Industries with the greatest exposure to silica dust include:

  • Building and construction
  • Glassmaking
  • Stonemasonry
  • Mining and quarrying
  • Ceramic and pottery manufacturing
  • Farming

Is silica dust dangerous?

Silica dust can be extremely harmful, especially when inhaled into the lungs. This dust is created when materials containing this substance are released during basic construction tasks including drilling, cutting, polishing, tiling, paving or cementing.

The fine respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust that is emitted can become trapped deep into the lungs, causing many harmful risks during heavy and prolonged exposure. According to HSE, in 2005, silica dust was responsible for the death of over 500 construction workers.

Silica dust can be linked to serious lung diseases including:

  • Silicosis – which is an irreversible scarring and stiffening of the lungs, caused by inhaling large quantities of crystalline silica dust that becomes embedded in the respiratory system leading to inflammation and reduces the lungs capacity to function as normal.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) – this is a group of lung diseases such as emphysema and bronchitis which can cause prolonged coughing, breathlessness (particularly at night or when exercising), persistent chest infections as well as other chronic disabilities.
  • Kidney disease – kidney disease can become chronic, which is a long-term condition where the kidneys do not function was well as they should causing many other problems.
  • Cancer – prolonged exposure to silica dust can potentially lead to lung cancer.

How can a fume extraction system can help

There are various guidelines HSE have compiled to help combat the risks presented by silica dust to workers, including controlling exposure to stone dust – which we recommend following.

Another common solution is a fume extraction system or an air-based filtration system.

At Purex, our iFume series of fume extractors are our most popular model. They are specifically designed to extract harmful substances from the air to create a safer working environment. The automatic electronic flow maintains a constant extraction rate, even if the filter blocks. The simple installation, low running costs, full colour touch screen and multi-voltage operation allows our fume extraction system to be plugged in anywhere in the world – making this an ideal solution for your needs.

Put your trust in Purex

At Purex, we provide an excellent level of service and support, including our 24-hour technical support service and start-to-end projects. Get in touch with our expert team today to find out more about our fume extractors for a variety of industries, or learn more about how Purex can help with your fume extraction needs.

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How Purex can help

We provide an excellent level of service and support, including our 24-hour technical support service and start-to-end projects. Get in touch with our expert team today to find out more.