Respirable Crystalline Silica Dust in the Home
– Dangerous Exposure –
Table of Contents
Overview - Crystalline Silica Dust
If you are in the construction industry, you already know that silica dust is dangerous. Long-term exposure to silica dust brings about several health issues including silicosis and lung cancer. Construction workers are exposed to silica dust in a variety of ways including tile cutting and removal.
Over 2.2-million construction workers are exposed to silica dust each year as per the statistics of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) in the U.S. This article provides information on the dangers of long-term exposure to silica dust, and what measures you can take to minimize your risk.
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What Is Crystalline Silica Dust?
Silica is a natural substance found in sand, rocks, and clay. It is a major constituent of construction materials including concrete, bricks, mortar, and tile. Cutting, drilling, or polishing these materials results in the generation of tile dust.
Crystalline silica particles are fine enough to get deep into your lungs and cause many respiratory illnesses over time. The fine dust particles of silica are known as Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) and are too fine to see in normal lighting conditions. It is at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand you find on the beach.
Dangers Of Long-Term Exposure To Silica Dust
What are the dangers of exposure to crystalline silica dust and what can be done to avoid or prevent it from going airborne in your home?
Over 2.2-million construction workers in the United States inhale silica dust each year. These workers are at an increased risk of developing serious health conditions such as:
- COPD – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Kidney disease
- Lung cancer
Below is a brief overview of each one of these health conditions & what they are. Follow along with DustRam® to learn more about the impacts.
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Inhalation of Silica Dust Can Result in Serious Diseases
COPD – Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a chronic inflammatory lung condition that results in obstructed airflow from the lungs. It causes shortness of breath due to difficulty breathing air into the lungs. Cough, mucus production, and wheezing are the other common symptoms of this illness. Emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two of the most common conditions that contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD may worsen over time and isn’t usually reversible. While there is no cure, it can still be treated – CDC
2. Kidney Disease
Kidney Disease – Long-term inhalation of silica dust increases the risk of kidney disease in construction workers. Construction workers are usually diagnosed with kidney damage and kidney failure due to long-term exposure to silica dust. Kidney failure occurs in two forms such as acute and chronic failure. Acute is a sudden failure of kidney functions while chronic is a gradual loss of kidney functions. Acute renal failure is rare but is found in construction workers who have been exposed to silica dust for many years.
3. Lung Cancer
Lung Cancer – Regular exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) increases your risk of developing lung cancer. Abnormal cell growth in the lungs interferes with lung functions and grows into tumors over time. The abnormal cell growth can result in damage to other parts of the body, and most cases are not curable.
Silicosis – Silicosis is a condition that causes severe breathing problems and increases the risk of lung infections. Silicosis developed due to regular exposure to RCS over many years. When silica crystals enter the lungs, it causes the lungs to form scar tissue, making it difficult for the lungs to take in oxygen. Silicosis can be fatal, and there isn’t a cure for the condition. The symptoms of silicosis may not be obvious at the beginning. The worker may experience shortness of breath when working out, fatigue, chest pain, and respiratory failure. A chest x-ray will show if there is any lung damage.
Eliminating Silica Dust In Tile Removal
It is always recommended to control silica dust when removing or cutting tiles for cleanliness and health reasons. A wet-dry vacuum seems to do the job to some extent by collecting silica dust as the construction worker cuts through the tiles. The vacuum will wet down the mortar to control the amount of dust being exposed to the environment. Wearing a dust mask is important to prevent your exposure to tile dust. Although these methods help control silica dust to some extent, they won’t completely eliminate it.
You are still at a higher risk of being exposed to silica dust over time. Traditional and virtually dust-free tile removal methods are notorious for leaving dust in your home, exposing you to the dangers that come from inhalation. The only way to avoid this dangerous substance is to ensure that it never has a chance to enter your breathable air space. Dustless tile removal with the DustRam® System of tools and equipment is a great solution. Our tools and equipment were designed to capture and contain the dust making sure it never goes airborne.
We’ve been in the tile removal business for a long time. We understand the dangers of silica dust as well as how to avoid it. To do this, we rely on an intricate system of equipment and tools that work together to remove the dust particles as they are produced. This prevents them from becoming airborne and posing a threat.
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Take a look at the system of tools and equipment that are known for their ability to capture crystalline silica dust from a tile removal the instant the dust is created. The DustRam® System is great way to ensure a cleaner, faster, and better tile removal. You can buy our equipment or join our team. Contact us today for more information!
Benefits Of Dustless Tile Removal
Dustless tile removal is the latest technologically advanced method of cutting and removing tiles. The process involves special tools and technology to prevent tile dust from becoming airborne and causing health issues. The tool captures tile dust while cutting and removing tile without releasing it into the environment. It helps protect your health and minimize the mess.
The HEPA Certified Air Cleaners of the system help capture silica dust unseen to the naked eye. The system will leave your home or commercial establishment free of tile dust. Three of these industrial vacuums produce more than 735 CFM worth of suction to suck the dust up with ease. We can help protect the health and well-being of your loved ones with our unique dust-free tile removal method. Check out our website for more information.