Crystalline Quartz

Crystalline Quartz

What is crystalline silica?

Stone, dirt, and sand contain copious crystalline silica. It is also present in concrete, brick, mortar, and other construction materials.

Crystalline silica exists in numerous forms, with quartz being the most prevalent. Quartz dust is respirable crystalline silica.

Crystalline silica exposure: how?

Industrial and occupational situations expose workers to airborne silica, mostly quartz dust. Workers who cut concrete and brick with handheld masonry saws may breathe in silica. These particles might deepen the lungs when inhaled.

Inhaling airborne silica from quartz-containing items is the main way people get exposed. Cleansers, cosmetics, art clays and glazes, pet litter, talcum powder, caulk, and paint.

Crystalline silica causes which cancers?
Lung cancer is linked to respirable crystalline silica exposure. Quarry, granite, ceramic, pottery, refractory brick, and earth workers have the strongest association between respirable crystalline silica and lung cancer.

How can exposures be reduced?
The Mine Safety and Health Administration and OSHA regulate silica. Handheld Power Saws and Silica Dust Control is an OSHA information sheet.