Lung Cancer Linked To Silica
Silica is the world's second most common mineral and it is also an extremely damaging mineral that, when inhaled, can cause lung cancer, tuberculosis, renal failure, etc. Silica dust exists in many work environments and hundreds of employees work in and around it without knowledge of the extreme danger they are in. It is important to know the effects of silica to protect oneself.
In the United States, millions of employees are exposed to a dangerous mineral that can cause seriously damaging and deadly conditions. Silica exposure often occurs in the workplace and can increase the risk of lung cancer and tuberculosis as well as a handful of other serious illnesses.
What Is Silica, Anyway?
More than just a benign dust, silica is actually the world's second most common mineral. Present in mineral ore, sand, and other rocks, silica comes in crystalline form and can be easily inhaled and breathed through the lungs. Over time, silica dust exposure can cause a buildup of scar tissue in the lungs, and this is the most deadly threat to exposed employees. Exposure of silica can occur at a dozen of jobs, such as:
* factories that work with pottery and related materials, or ceramics;
* glass factories;
* soap and detergent plants;
* the use of jackhammers on construction sites where drilling and sandblasting occurs;
* railroads and ship yards;
* stone work sites.
Silicosis - Industrial Killer
Silicosis kills more than 250 workers a year, but the disease is 100 percent preventable with the proper safety measures. The disease is especially dangerous because it takes so long to manifest - up to 20 years in some workers.
Silicosis is a lung disease, so symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pains, fever, loss of appetite, and a severe cough. In addition, the presence of silica in the lungs often causes an autoimmune disorder, leaving workers more vulnerable to other lung ailments such as pneumonia and tuberculosis. A thorough medical examination, including chest X-ray, lung capacity testing and other modalities, is needed for a complete silicosis diagnosis.
There are three different types of silica-related conditions such as chronic silicosis, acute silicosis (with high exposures; may develop anywhere from weeks to five years after exposure), and accelerated silicosis (developing over five to ten years). The severity of silicosis in a given worker depends on the level and repetition of the occupational exposure.
What Is Being Done?
OSHA and MSHA rules do apply to silica exposure at work sites. OSHA has set an exposure limit that specifies the maximum amount of permissible silica exposure during an eight-hour shift.
In addition, OSHA and MSHA both require employers to provide appropriate measures to prevent silica exposures. These include, but are not limited to, proper record keeping, providing respiratory protection devices to workers, and posting appropriate warnings to workers who may be exposed to silica dust in their jobs. Employees working in a silica-related job or in dusty work environments must use precaution and prevention to avoid developing debilitating silicosis conditions.
If you are suffering from a work-related illness from silica exposure, seek the proper medical attention immediately. Consult with an experienced silica attorney to determine whether you have a case. Those exposed to silica or working in a silica-related industry should speak with an attorney to discuss the potential for compensation on medical bills.
Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com
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