Discussions By Condition: Poisoning

Overexposure to Silica Dust and Silicosis am I at risk?

Posted In: Poisoning 43 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • July 21, 2006
  • 08:29 PM

I would like to appogize in advance for the length of this post, I appreciate any infomation anyone can provide me.

Okay recently I became aware of a very scary and very real disease that effects people that are in construction and mining trades. This disease is one of the oldest occupational diseases there is, and yet very few people know about it, know what causes it, or know how to protect themselves from getting sick. I am one of these people. I have done a ton of research on the internet reguarding this subject and probably know as much as anyone can know based soley on internet information. So I am hoping someone with a more advanced knowledge of this toxin or someone who is suffering from silicosis can give me some information.

This is my story.



I have been exposed to silica dust without resperation several times. My main concern is the possiblity of developing acute silicosis. I have spoke with my dr reguarding this. He is not a specialist in toxicology or occupational medicine so his knowledge on the subject is admitedly very limited. I have done a lot of research on the interenet reguarding this and have not been able to come to any sort of true understanding if I am at risk or not. Most people describe actute silicosis as developing within weeks to a few years after "being exposed to a large amount of silica dust over a short period of time". This explination is very hard to understand for me. What is a short amount of time? What is "a large amount of silica dust" I have seen some of the math behind what is safe and what is not safe, but how would one determine things like a partical count or density of silica dust in the air weeks after they have left the job site. I will do my best to account my exposure and pehaps you can give me some sort of refference point. I also have many questions.

Its really sad how ignorant I was about the materials I was working with, keep in mind at the times that I was wearing breathing protection it was only a n-95 dust mask. And many times I was not wearing even that.



Occupational hazards
-worked in auto body repair over a decade ago for about 2 months.


Exposures include: fiberglass resin fumes, paint fumes and particles, dry fiberglass particles. Did not always where resperation equipment.


-worked in general carpentry from march 2006 - june 2006.


Exposures included: silica dust from mixing concrete for fence posts and moving full and empty cement bags, silica dust from thin-set tile mortar as well as tile grout, drywall dust containing silica, also tile cutting using water to suppress dust. 50 percent of this work was done without a dust mask. Do the pure ignorance over the contents of these materials.

Significant exposures inlcude.


In june 2006 unprotected exposures to portland cement prodcuts producing dry dust clouds 10-15 times over the course of a month all exposures taking place outdoors.
April 2006 broke away stucco that created dust from the exterior of a sliding glass door not wearing respiration.


June 29th 2006 a large cloud of tile mortar containing silica blew in my direction from only a few inches away while it was being mixed with water. I was not wearing respiration but heald my breath as long as I could as the cloud approached, while mixing was exposed to smaller clouds of the dust over 4 or 5 minutes. The same day I also cut many (over 30) pieces of tile with a "wet" tile saw not using respiration as I did not know it was necessary to wear a respirator while using water for dust control.
Monday july 3rd I was briefly exposed to a cloud of dry tile mortar. These exposures all took place outdoors.


Febuary 2006, 5-8 hours of exposure to dry wall dust indoors not using resperation while working on 2 houses that had been damaged by flooding. Dry wall dust was not very thick in the air as most of the material was wet from the flood.



July 8th brief exposure (under 10 minutes) to a mixture of fiberglass insulation, dry wall, silica dust, air born mold, etc. I was wearing a n95 approved dust mask, however the second band was not secured properly around the back of my head. Also daily exposure to various dusts from building materials while using a vacum to clean up job sites. May 2006 exposed to lots of redwood saw dust while fencing, over 2 days. As well as some cement dust all without wearing resperation.


June 2006 exposure to laminate bamboo flooring dust as well as other laminate flooring dusts. As well as brief exposure to old industrial ovens while moving them for disposal clouds of dust where present, I was wearing a n95 dust mask for this task. Apparently the stone slabs contained espetos.


And just this evening july 20th 2006 I was at a friends house who had tile work done a month ago, a lot of the dust and building materials including a semi open bag of tile grout was in the garage, we where hanging out in his garage with the doors closed for a good 90 minutes with a fan blowing. Of course I did not see any dust in the air, but a certain degree of panic and worry set in.

I really do hope that all this worry is just simply that.


So thats my exposure, it did not occur everyday, and at times there where a week or 2 between exposures. Sometimes it would be a few days in a row. And I have accounted for every exposure I can think of and described it as well as possible. I am not longer doing this kind of work at all, and do not plan on re-exposing myself to these materials.




Questions:

1) if chest x-ray shows no abnormailty, and pulse / ox is normal will a lung funtion test show if there might be a problem forming? In other words I am curious as to which test would be most effective in determining early signs of lung disease.



2) after working I would get into my car and drive home without changing clothes. What risks are these going to pose to me and my loved ones given the reletively short time I was doing this kind of work?



3) I drove my car with the windows down for about 300 miles, would this help to clear out any potential contamination, and what is a good way to clean up areas such as my car that might have possible silica dust settled in them?



4) I am also very worried about the risks of having contaminated my car and my living space by not changing my clothing. I can even recal a time I came home from work and was so tired I just took off my clothes and layed in bed for an hour or so before I showered. I have pretty thick long hair so I wonder if that could have been a health issue as well.




5) if after I drove my car 5 hours with the windows down and a few hours after that a good friend got my car for 5-10 minutes. If there was still some conamination due to not changing my clothing after work and getting in my car would there be any realistic risk to there health?



6) does silica dust become less harmfull overtime while it is free in the environment?



7) if I have inhaled any amount of silica dust will it eventualy cause silicosis?




8) if I have inhaled silica particles will they ever be expelled from my body over time?



My main concern is obviousley ending up with a disease that is going to kill me very quickly. I realize that there are 3 forms of this disease and it seems like it could be loosely compared to someone with a smoking habbit. Its not the year of smoking that will kill you , its the 10 years of smoking. Chrnoic and advanced silicosis both fall under the catagory of exposure over time. As I do not think I am a cantidate for cronic or advanced silicosis given the information I have read, my concern is the possibilty of developing acute silicosis.

I have had some symptoms of mainly shortness of breath, but I will also admit that my concern for my health could be having some phychological impact on me. I do seem to have shooting very sharp pains in my chest rib cage and back a few times a day. My chest x ray is clear and my pulse ox has been taken twice both times read at 97.

I am also very worried about making sure no one else is effected by my ignorance to this. Common sence would tell me that brief exposures from particals that may or may have not made it into my car or into my home from clothes I that may have had silca dust on them is probably not something to worry about given that I have only worked with these materials 15-20 times total.



I have heard stories of people being exposed to silica dust once in a very large amount and getting sick shortly after that one time exposure. So I am hoping that my 15-20 times of exposure is still not considered high risk I just dont know.



I have a lung function test scheduled for next week. Any additional thoughts or information you can provide me is very welcome. I am very restless with worry over this. I can not believe I was not made aware of how badly these building materials could effect my health.



Thank you so much for yout time.

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43 Replies:

  • I am not an expert on silicosis but I have been around potentially harmful air pollutants in various situations as you have. I would say that it is unlikely that have or will develop severe silicosis but you may have been exposed to silica dust as in inhaling it into the lungs. 1) Abnormal growths or mutations arise after a period of time. I don't know how this is detected (probably isn't clinically). Speak w/ your doctor.2) No risk.3) PM 2.5 levels are elevated on highways. You polluted your car. Whatever dust had not settled was probably stirred about until it did. Vaccum and wipe w/ a cloth.4) No risk.5) No risk. Unlike something like lead or depleted uranium silica dust in small quantities is relatively harmless especially if it has settled.6) Yes it is heavier than air and it will fall to the ground. It will also pickup water from the air and this will make it heavier still.7) No. The greater part of it will be absorbed by the body over time. Larger quantities are more likely to cause lung degeneration and abnormalities because it overwhelms the body. 8) Yes. Fortunately silica, unlike some other materials, can and does get absorbed or is expelled. It does not dissolve well however. Silica is an essential mineral and your body required several milligrams per day.You obviously know where silica is found and know that all dust is potentially harmful even if it can't be seen. This is why you should always wear protection when ever there is any doubt. That includes any smoke and fumes. It is always a good idea to have safety equipment close at hand and to make sure it fits well, is comfortable, easy to work with and functions properly before you need it.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • August 28, 2006
    • 00:07 PM
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  • Hi. I am concerned too as I have been exposed to silica dust (from being around workers who cut CMU and who point tuck mortar joints). I am worried that I have an exposure of maybe an hour or two (total) over one day and many other less significant exposures over time (I visit construction sites every now and then, and have a concern but the exposures may be negligible).What's the possibility of me developing silicosis? And how long do i need to wait (after the exposure) in order to get a chest xray? And what happens to the dust that i have inhaled - will that get absorbed or will it stay in my lungs forever. That one exposure concerns me as I was supervisiing some workers without a dust mask, and it involves a lot of dust as they were cutting a control joint in a block wall and was tuck pointing one mortar joint.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Holy Christmas, I thought I was a hypochondriac!!!But seriously, If you had exposed yourself to enough silica to cause silicosis, it would be treated symptomatically. No symptoms = don't worry about it. If symptoms do appear, address them with your doctor.What you have described would not be considered a risk factor for developing silicosis. It is probably as bad as smoking for a year (cancer possible but incredibly unlikely).If you had worked in the careless manner you described daily for 10+ years, then yes you should be concerned. Even so, all you could do is treat the symptoms if there were any, so there is no point in worrying about your past exposure.The fact that you are so concerned is not your fault. Many risky materials are over-hyped. This is not to say that we should not care about using proper handling techniques, but realize that countries like China still use asbestos. Many workers will be highly exposed without respirators, and most will not get mesothelioma. So many workers have been exposed to silica in worse situations than you described, daily, for years, without developing silicosis.Therefore, use protective equipment from now on, and don't worry about it.
    therealfloop 3 Replies Flag this Response
  • Yes, I am a major hypochondriac as well. I am severely worried about developing silicosis after being around a guy who was jackhammering concrete for about 10-15 min. in a semi large basement. I didn't wear a dust mask nor did he since it was such a small section of concrete we were removing. It didn't get that dusty as the room was large, and I was about 15ft away from him. Plus we had a fan blowing to try and ventilate the area some. I didn't realize anything about silica until I read about it after this event. Anybody else done this, and if so, any health problems? This was only a one time event, and I now know next time. I just don't want to develop anything as I am only 26. Like I said, there wasn't much of a dust cloud and we tried to ventilate the area. My throat and nose didn't even get irritated, so if I breathed in anything, it would have been small most likely.I research a little about silica and silicosis, and supposedly it takes years of exposure to develop anything. Will my lungs get rid of this small exposure, or will it be in my lungs forever?Anybody else accidently done this before or know of other people that had this happened? Any negative health consequences from such a short exposure? What should I do? Any help would greatly be appreciated.
    wesman200098 1 Replies
    • August 14, 2008
    • 00:25 PM
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  • wesman, I don't mean to minimize your fear, or of the real threat of silicosis, but the answer is in your question. NO. YOU WILL BE FINE. The only people at serious risk are those who are exposed occupationally, ie regularly. For instance your friend who was jackhammering. Does he do it every day, and without a mask? I consider myself somewhat a hypochondriac, but i think it's also important to think in realistic terms. A thought of "what if" does not equal "probably" or "good chance of." It's OK that you are worried about this exposure, but just in case you are unaware, the people at real risk are the ones who are exposed regularly, over a number of years. Not you. To answer your question about it staying in your lungs, I believe for the most part it does. And your body's response is to encapsulate the the silica particles so they do not cause any harm. Some absorption may take place; i dunno. In any event let's say that scar tissue forms around these particles. Therefore, years of breathing this stuff could lead to an amount of scar tissue that causes a problem, such as leading to inefficient o2 exchange or possibly cancer. So yeah, it is a real threat to some people. Silicosis is not risk to you, but realize that other things which aren't known to cause problems may be found in the future to be a problem. So use common sense. If its dusty or smells, wear a respirator, that way you never have to worry about it.Hope this helps, and stop researching this topic.later
    therealfloop 3 Replies
    • August 21, 2008
    • 04:37 AM
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  • i also have fears of silicosis from working with silica sand for a few days this summer. The sand had an average diameter of 150 micro meters, and the smallest particles were 75 um (micrometers). I wore either a paper mask or respirator all the time and there was minimal particle attrition (it breaking into smaller particles). The silica sand was in a metal transport line, but there were times when particles escaped from the line. This is causing me ALOT of stress. Can these larger silica particles be a problem or were they most likely caught in different areas of my body and not deeply inhaled? Any exposure was to larger particles that were above the size i read that were dangerous, but my mind is still not at ease. I was not exposed directly to dust but rather these larger particles. Thinking about this is causing me alot of stress and sadness. Thanks.
    Craigory 1 Replies
    • September 2, 2008
    • 04:02 AM
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  • Craigory,First, re-read all of the comments so far, and re-assess your level of fear (ie. it should be lower or non-existent). You wore a respirator, which was good. In the future, use only a p100 cartridge type respirator or dust mask (3m makes little pink p100 filters which are interchangeable with the organic cartridges, these are much more comfortable than paper masks, and give a better seal.Just a little hypochondriac advise:I evaluate my thoughts in the following way:If I am nervous about an issue like this (I don't like working with hazardous materials, so this happens to me from time to time), I will try to figure out if my concerns are fear-based, or if I have real symptoms, or a real probability of getting symptoms.People who usually get ill feel symptoms first, and don't know what is causing it. A hypochondriac thinks about the possibilities first, and then feels the symptoms, or worries about the possible future symptoms. See the difference? You are in the latter group.To be totally intellectually honest though, no one can answer many of these questions:I worked with hardibacker which contains silica, and mostly wore a mask.I smoked cigarettes and chewed tobacco on and off for 10 years.I drink 2-3 beers daily.I have worked a little with solvents, worked around a foundry environment, and eat too much fast food.In some respects, the probability for me of getting cancer, or of having a heart attack, is either 0% or 100%. It either will or won't happen. I'm sure it makes a difference how I live the second half of my life, whether or when these things happen to me.In your situation, no one could quantify exactly what your exposure could be, and even if they knew, no one would be able to tell you if you'll become ill. As far as particle size and risk, it relates more to particle shape and its ability to stay airborne. And also, the reality is, in any sand, there are always fines, even if they are mostly screened out."If you had exposed yourself to enough silica to cause silicosis, it would be treated symptomatically. No symptoms = don't worry about it. If symptoms do appear, address them with your doctor."I'll tell you what, I'll trade my tobacco usage for your silica exposure. :DLater,Alex
    therealfloop 3 Replies
    • September 3, 2008
    • 05:12 AM
    • 0
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  • Craigory, First, re-read all of the comments so far, and re-assess your level of fear (ie. it should be lower or non-existent). You wore a respirator, which was good. In the future, use only a p100 cartridge type respirator or dust mask (3m makes little pink p100 filters which are interchangeable with the organic cartridges, these are much more comfortable than paper masks, and give a better seal. Just a little hypochondriac advise: I evaluate my thoughts in the following way: If I am nervous about an issue like this (I don't like working with hazardous materials, so this happens to me from time to time), I will try to figure out if my concerns are fear-based, or if I have real symptoms, or a real probability of getting symptoms. People who usually get ill feel symptoms first, and don't know what is causing it. A hypochondriac thinks about the possibilities first, and then feels the symptoms, or worries about the possible future symptoms. See the difference? You are in the latter group. To be totally intellectually honest though, no one can answer many of these questions: I worked with hardibacker which contains silica, and mostly wore a mask.I smoked cigarettes and chewed tobacco on and off for 10 years.I drink 2-3 beers daily.I have worked a little with solvents, worked around a foundry environment, and eat too much fast food. In some respects, the probability for me of getting cancer, or of having a heart attack, is either 0% or 100%. It either will or won't happen. I'm sure it makes a difference how I live the second half of my life, whether or when these things happen to me. In your situation, no one could quantify exactly what your exposure could be, and even if they knew, no one would be able to tell you if you'll become ill. As far as particle size and risk, it relates more to particle shape and its ability to stay airborne. And also, the reality is, in any sand, there are always fines, even if they are mostly screened out. "If you had exposed yourself to enough silica to cause silicosis, it would be treated symptomatically. No symptoms = don't worry about it. If symptoms do appear, address them with your doctor." I'll tell you what, I'll trade my tobacco usage for your silica exposure. :D Later, Alex Well put, Alex. You are right that no one can predict whether you will have issues, even if you were exposed to silica for long periods. If they could, then they could predict who will develop lung cancer from smoking (again, no one can predict). The symptoms to be concerned with would include: shortness of breath, asthma symptoms, dry hacking cough or cough with mucus, chest pain or tightness (not always related to lung issues tho), chronic bronchitis or other upper respiratory problems. I agree if you are not experiencing any of these symptoms it is doubtful you have any lung issues. If you are experiencing any upper respiratory issues then I would suggest trying acupuncture to help get you back on track. It was the only thing to really help my asthma symptoms. Acupuncture and NAET helped solve my asthma issues. Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3,080 Replies
    • September 3, 2008
    • 05:54 PM
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  • Sorry to be digging up and old past but can someone help? Would this constitute as a high does? I drilled roughly 20 hols into brick and cement to fit a LCD TV to the wall in me bedroom in November 2007, as I did this my wife held the hover under the drill to hover up the dust but you could still taste gritty stuff in your mouth. it tuck the best part of six hours to do the work as their was some shelvs i put up too in the room. when finished i tuck a shower then went to bed in the same room. The hols was about 1 to 2 cm big I think and room size is about 3 x 3 metres. Don’t think I had the door or windows open while I did this work because I was keeping the kids out the room and it was in November so it was cold.Would this be considered large does in small time?
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 3, 2009
    • 06:08 PM
    • 0
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  • Sorry to be digging up and old past but can someone help? Would this constitute as a high does? I drilled roughly 20 hols into brick and cement to fit a LCD TV to the wall in me bedroom in November 2007, as I did this my wife held the hover under the drill to hover up the dust but you could still taste gritty stuff in your mouth. it tuck the best part of six hours to do the work as their was some shelvs i put up too in the room. when finished i tuck a shower then went to bed in the same room. The hols was about 1 to 2 cm big I think and room size is about 3 x 3 metres. Don’t think I had the door or windows open while I did this work because I was keeping the kids out the room and it was in November so it was cold. Would this be considered large does in small time? Are you experiencing any lung symptoms as mentioned in a previous post? Do you smoke? Certainly not a good idea to do this kind of work without a mask, but hindsight is 20/20:(. If you aren't experiencing any lung symptoms then I wouldn't worry so much. Best wishesDOM
    acuann 3,080 Replies
    • February 4, 2009
    • 04:42 PM
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  • Are you experiencing any lung symptoms as mentioned in a previous post? Do you smoke? Certainly not a good idea to do this kind of work without a mask, but hindsight is 20/20:(. If you aren't experiencing any lung symptoms then I wouldn't worry so much. Best wishesDOMI started with a very slight cough (tickly) that I would have every morning after standing from the toilet. But that’s the only time I would get it.When I went on holiday in October I had a sore throat but only in the morning until I had a coffee, I put this down to the all inclusive alcohol, however when I got back home I could still feel something in my throat and so went to the doc's who referred me to ENT.ENT found nothing but in the waiting period I started to panic and look things up on the internet which is one of the reasons I ended up here after learning of Silica.Anyway the Panic set in and my cough escalated, the last few days have been allot better though only coughing a few times a day (usually worse in the morning) but now I seem to be constantly trying to clear my throat but nothing ever moves. I went for a chest x-ray about a week ago and that come back normal.And no I don’t smoke.So :-1. Tickly cough lasing months.2.A horse voice that last about a month but for the most part seems to have gone but left me with this none productive throat clearing.Other than that i have no noticed and shortness of breath or anything.I get a pain in my chest & back from time to time but I’m hoping this is just anxiety.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 4, 2009
    • 05:28 PM
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  • i started working with my dad three weeks ago, hes a stone mason and weve been doing dry walling, so that the wall is level we use a grinder to remove lumps and bumps so the next rock sits flat, i got a sore throat about a week ago, but becuase id been pretty sick a week b4 i started being around the silica dust i ignored it. and ive been stressing the last few days, not being able to take deep breaths....but im still breathing well, just a bit of tightness in my chest, some back pain. Then i got a cough and its like im trying to clear my throat every 5 seconds i did smoke, but only for 6months before i realised it was a stupid waste of time....im really a worrier becuase after reading many posts it seems that it would take over exposure over a long period of time. im going to go the the docters, but then agen im still worried about the results. being 17 i dont want to generate anything that could jeprodise living a long life.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hello,Just a quick question. I am currently creating concrete countertops for my house using Quikcrete concrete mix. I recently WET sanded the concrete for about an hour without a respirator in an open garage, then used a N95 mask (the one with the vent) to grind another 1-2 hrs again in the open garage. I'm going to get a better respirator today, but do I have anything to worry about??? Please help...Thank you!
    gprett99 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • I am a ceramics teacher and am have been exposed to silica dust in the classroom. My symptoms are that when the room is not hosed down on a regular basis sometimes ten days to a week between hosing down, I develop a sore throat and have episodes of my an allergice response. I can't breathe and literally run out of the room to get fresh air. I have had maybe five to seven of thiese incidents in my classroom. The last one occured about two weeks ago. My lungs tightened up and would not release completely and I was diagnosed with asthma. The sense of panic takes a few minutes to subside and the last time it would not go awayfor sevral days.I have no way of extimating contamination except to not that the dust was clearly visible in the air and coated all surfaces--I felt the dust on my skin and washed my face several times during the day to clear the rtty feeling from my eyses and nasal passages. I was put on albuterol and a qvair a steroid inhaler to reduce inflamation. The work com dr listened to my lungs and okayed my return to work. Although I feel mush better with the drugs I am left with a persistent cough and a sense of not my lungs "clicking" when I take a deep breath the "click is felt near the lower portion. Trying to get some help from administrators custodians etc and now medical personell has been very difficult. any ideas suggestions are welcome. \
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • November 25, 2009
    • 02:01 PM
    • 0
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  • I recentlly did some sandblasting in my garage for about 5 hours on and off taking breaks. It was truelly a horrible experince. I did where a N95 Resperator while I was doing it. I did not know the possible health effect untill I started doing some reaserch on the internet. I did this about a month ago. Now I am having some chest pain and have been coughing. I almost had my wife take me to the ER today but I deciced not too. To tell you the truth I am really scared to find out what they might tell me. I have worried so much that I cant sleep anymore....I have a 3 year old daughter and all I can think about is her beeing without her daddy. Tomorrow is Christamas I will probably be going to the ER the very next day. Is it possible to worry so much that you can give yourself Acid Reflux or heart burn? I am hopining that is what is causing the burning sensation in my chest. It seems to feel better if I take some cough medicine.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • December 25, 2009
    • 01:47 AM
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  • I went to the ER and they could not find anything on my chest x-ray. All the tests came back normal. Blood, urine, blodd oxy level 100% all normal. They sugest I follow up with a doctor for a Pulmonary Function Test. I am going to see my doctor this coming week. They treated me for Acid Reflux with some Pepcid which now the burning in my chest is almost gone. Just some slight discomfort.
    EPP122106 1 Replies
    • December 26, 2009
    • 06:46 PM
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  • I too am a hypo. Have anxiety also. Panic attacks a few times. Stress and anxiety are funny things. They can do amazing things to your body. That's the power of thought. Just think what you could do if you thought positive things all the time. I rarely have anxiety anymore. Yes exposure over time is unhealthy but so is eating too much fast food. More so than some dust and nobody worries much bout that. The problem is everything nowadays has to be labeled so the companies can't be sued. So if there is a minute chance something could do something harmful then u will most definately know bout it. Funny thing is when we were kids we did alot worse and were still here. ***l I used to play with mercury in grade school. Lol
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 18, 2010
    • 09:27 PM
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  • I would like to appogize in advance for the length of this post, I appreciate any infomation anyone can provide me.Okay recently I became aware of a very scary and very real disease that effects people that are in construction and mining trades. This disease is one of the oldest occupational diseases there is, and yet very few people know about it, know what causes it, or know how to protect themselves from getting sick. I am one of these people. I have done a ton of research on the internet reguarding this subject and probably know as much as anyone can know based soley on internet information. So I am hoping someone with a more advanced knowledge of this toxin or someone who is suffering from silicosis can give me some information. This is my story.I have been exposed to silica dust without resperation several times. My main concern is the possiblity of developing acute silicosis. I have spoke with my dr reguarding this. He is not a specialist in toxicology or occupational medicine so his knowledge on the subject is admitedly very limited. I have done a lot of research on the interenet reguarding this and have not been able to come to any sort of true understanding if I am at risk or not. Most people describe actute silicosis as developing within weeks to a few years after "being exposed to a large amount of silica dust over a short period of time". This explination is very hard to understand for me. What is a short amount of time? What is "a large amount of silica dust" I have seen some of the math behind what is safe and what is not safe, but how would one determine things like a partical count or density of silica dust in the air weeks after they have left the job site. I will do my best to account my exposure and pehaps you can give me some sort of refference point. I also have many questions. Its really sad how ignorant I was about the materials I was working with, keep in mind at the times that I was wearing breathing protection it was only a n-95 dust mask. And many times I was not wearing even that.Occupational hazards -worked in auto body repair over a decade ago for about 2 months.Exposures include: fiberglass resin fumes, paint fumes and particles, dry fiberglass particles. Did not always where resperation equipment.-worked in general carpentry from march 2006 - june 2006.Exposures included: silica dust from mixing concrete for fence posts and moving full and empty cement bags, silica dust from thin-set tile mortar as well as tile grout, drywall dust containing silica, also tile cutting using water to suppress dust. 50 percent of this work was done without a dust mask. Do the pure ignorance over the contents of these materials. Significant exposures inlcude.In june 2006 unprotected exposures to portland cement prodcuts producing dry dust clouds 10-15 times over the course of a month all exposures taking place outdoors. April 2006 broke away stucco that created dust from the exterior of a sliding glass door not wearing respiration.June 29th 2006 a large cloud of tile mortar containing silica blew in my direction from only a few inches away while it was being mixed with water. I was not wearing respiration but heald my breath as long as I could as the cloud approached, while mixing was exposed to smaller clouds of the dust over 4 or 5 minutes. The same day I also cut many (over 30) pieces of tile with a "wet" tile saw not using respiration as I did not know it was necessary to wear a respirator while using water for dust control. Monday july 3rd I was briefly exposed to a cloud of dry tile mortar. These exposures all took place outdoors.Febuary 2006, 5-8 hours of exposure to dry wall dust indoors not using resperation while working on 2 houses that had been damaged by flooding. Dry wall dust was not very thick in the air as most of the material was wet from the flood.July 8th brief exposure (under 10 minutes) to a mixture of fiberglass insulation, dry wall, silica dust, air born mold, etc. I was wearing a n95 approved dust mask, however the second band was not secured properly around the back of my head. Also daily exposure to various dusts from building materials while using a vacum to clean up job sites. May 2006 exposed to lots of redwood saw dust while fencing, over 2 days. As well as some cement dust all without wearing resperation.June 2006 exposure to laminate bamboo flooring dust as well as other laminate flooring dusts. As well as brief exposure to old industrial ovens while moving them for disposal clouds of dust where present, I was wearing a n95 dust mask for this task. Apparently the stone slabs contained espetos.And just this evening july 20th 2006 I was at a friends house who had tile work done a month ago, a lot of the dust and building materials including a semi open bag of tile grout was in the garage, we where hanging out in his garage with the doors closed for a good 90 minutes with a fan blowing. Of course I did not see any dust in the air, but a certain degree of panic and worry set in. I really do hope that all this worry is just simply that. So thats my exposure, it did not occur everyday, and at times there where a week or 2 between exposures. Sometimes it would be a few days in a row. And I have accounted for every exposure I can think of and described it as well as possible. I am not longer doing this kind of work at all, and do not plan on re-exposing myself to these materials.Questions:1) if chest x-ray shows no abnormailty, and pulse / ox is normal will a lung funtion test show if there might be a problem forming? In other words I am curious as to which test would be most effective in determining early signs of lung disease.2) after working I would get into my car and drive home without changing clothes. What risks are these going to pose to me and my loved ones given the reletively short time I was doing this kind of work?3) I drove my car with the windows down for about 300 miles, would this help to clear out any potential contamination, and what is a good way to clean up areas such as my car that might have possible silica dust settled in them?4) I am also very worried about the risks of having contaminated my car and my living space by not changing my clothing. I can even recal a time I came home from work and was so tired I just took off my clothes and layed in bed for an hour or so before I showered. I have pretty thick long hair so I wonder if that could have been a health issue as well.5) if after I drove my car 5 hours with the windows down and a few hours after that a good friend got my car for 5-10 minutes. If there was still some conamination due to not changing my clothing after work and getting in my car would there be any realistic risk to there health?6) does silica dust become less harmfull overtime while it is free in the environment?7) if I have inhaled any amount of silica dust will it eventualy cause silicosis?8) if I have inhaled silica particles will they ever be expelled from my body over time?My main concern is obviousley ending up with a disease that is going to kill me very quickly. I realize that there are 3 forms of this disease and it seems like it could be loosely compared to someone with a smoking habbit. Its not the year of smoking that will kill you , its the 10 years of smoking. Chrnoic and advanced silicosis both fall under the catagory of exposure over time. As I do not think I am a cantidate for cronic or advanced silicosis given the information I have read, my concern is the possibilty of developing acute silicosis. I have had some symptoms of mainly shortness of breath, but I will also admit that my concern for my health could be having some phychological impact on me. I do seem to have shooting very sharp pains in my chest rib cage and back a few times a day. My chest x ray is clear and my pulse ox has been taken twice both times read at 97. I am also very worried about making sure no one else is effected by my ignorance to this. Common sence would tell me that brief exposures from particals that may or may have not made it into my car or into my home from clothes I that may have had silca dust on them is probably not something to worry about given that I have only worked with these materials 15-20 times total.I have heard stories of people being exposed to silica dust once in a very large amount and getting sick shortly after that one time exposure. So I am hoping that my 15-20 times of exposure is still not considered high risk I just dont know.I have a lung function test scheduled for next week. Any additional thoughts or information you can provide me is very welcome. I am very restless with worry over this. I can not believe I was not made aware of how badly these building materials could effect my health.Thank you so much for yout time.You will be okay. I have worked in the industry for many years-15 and the amount of your exposure though not negligble is not sufficient enough to cause any permanent injjury to lungs. You will be okay. before the facts on silica were made public i was exposed several x for short periods. In fact I worked a whole summer 10 hour days for 5 months mixing stucco mud,by hand in a wheel barrow with no mask. Always outside and ventilated and I have had no ill effects , that was 14 years ago....Hope this helps
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I want to help a few users on this site. I have read and scared myself of getting acute silicosis from reading from sites that most people access. The internet and many scientific sites do not seem to understand that most people do not grasp time frames and make explanations as vague as possible. So I figured the best way to help is to help people understand more about silicosis and give them more information(With a little comedic flare).So to begin, if you fall under one of the categories below go to the appropriate number for the category1. You have been in a basement cutting/grinding/drilling into concrete without a mask and filled the entire room with dust? Timeframe( 30min to 5 days )2. You have been in a basement cutting/grinding/drilling with a cheap n95 mask (both the stiff paper type or the softer one with the one way valve)? Time frame (30 min to 5 days)3. Sand blasting in an enclosed room without a mask for a few minutes(1-30 minutes) without a mask 4. Occassionally enjoy placing glass into a blender, then blending it till it becomes a fine powder. Then taking the powder and forming little lines on a table and snorting it.5. Work 8 hours a day for a period of months sandblasting, cutting/grinding/drilling concrete without wearing a mask or wearing a cheap mask.Your results:1. You will not get silicosis, but if you thought you did and showed signs and symptoms of silicosis, I suggest you go to a psychiatrist to talk about your hypochondria. Concrete/Cement is composed of two ingredients:Portland and sand. Some have proprietary blends that include fibers, rocks etc. Portland is composed of these primary ingredients: tricalcium silicate (Ca3SiO5), dicalcium silicate (Ca2SiO4), tricalcium aluminate (Ca3Al2O5) and calcium aluminoferrite(Ca4AlnFe2-nO7). Notice that SiO4 is bonded to Calcium. The bound form of silica does not have a detrimental health effect on the lungs. Portland cement does however cause issues when inhaling it. There is an article in the Journal Section of Google. About a man who was using a grinding wheel( or a diamond saw blade) to cut concrete in his basement. The SAME day, he had to go to a hospital. His lungs were filled with fluid, inflamed, and had difficulty breathing.The cause of this was not due to silica(which can cause silicosis) but rather from the compounds that make portland cement. You see, portland cement is very caustic, or in laymen's term acidic ( and in stupid term "it makes skin go burny or hot"). Test it out for yourself. Go buy a concrete block or cement from a store. Take a piece of it or a dab and place it on your lips. Make sure your lips are wet or moist. After a few minutes your lips will begin to burn. That's due to the acidic nature of portland. When concrete/portland gets into your lungs the same reaction happens. But the way your body responds is different. Your lungs are moist and need to maintain a constant pH. When a acidic gas/chemical goes into your lungs, your lungs try to neutralize the acid by pumping in water. Now this is where you get that little light bulb above your head. Filling water in my lungs you say! That seems like that can cause a problem unless I'm a fish. And to that I say indeed.So what happened to the patient? Well they placed him in prone position and gave him broncodialtors. A few days after treatment he was released. Now I know what your thinking, concrete/Cement doesn't only have portland you silly man.That is correct, it also contains sand(silica) and rocks( may contain silica)Now the majority of people coming to this site, are thinking they have acute silicosis or may develope acute silicosis. Many places online show to get acute silicosis is "Exposed to a high/Large concentration of silica for a short period of time"There is a part there that makes my blood boil, "Short period of time". What is a short period of time for some people? A few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours? And what does a short period of time mean to doctors or researchers of silicosis? Well according to Merck, it is Not hours, not days, not even weeks! It requires a few months!!! MONTHSSSSSSSS! And the time required would be to work 5 days a week 4-8 hours a day working in such high concentrations. To read the document go to google and type in Merck Silicosis. It will bring up a page that is a pdf if you don't beleive me. And if your working with concrete your nose and mouth will show signs of you being slight low on the IQ scale as it begins to burn. And before you flame me, I too have to admit that I have grinded, and cut concrete without a mask. It was stupid of me to not even think about my lungs and safety.Now what is a high concentration? Well according to CDC(Forgot what it means? Well search it, I'm not going to do all the work you....lazy @$$) a high concentration is 3ml per meter square. Thats a lot. Even for the volume given.So if your spending a few hours in a basement cutting concrete without a mask, you won't develop silicosis. You might get a reaction from the portland, but you won't get silicosis from a few hours. Now, your probably saying, but my lungs hurt or im coughing!Well if you think you have acute silicosis, go to a medical store that sells stethoscope and pressure cuff kits. Get a good quality one, the kit costs about 25-40 bucks. The reason I said to get the kit is because you can check your blood pressure once in a while, instead of letting the scope collect dust.Now use the BIG cup and place it behind your back under your shoulder blade and listen carefully. Do you hear something that sounds like hair rubbing together? If not then you do have rails or cracking. Cracking is a sound that your lungs make when filled with fluid. Now be care and take multiple readings. You can search google for what spots to listen to. For acute silicosis you will have crackling in both lungs. If you hear cracking, press the cup of the stethoscope harder against your chest or back. I nearly scared myself to death when I thought I heard crackling, but it was due to the cup "peeling" off my skin. IF you still hear crackling, go to the doctor immediately. Coughing is the result of several things, allergies, post nasal drip, stress, hypochondria, asthma, hypochondria, fluid in lungs, cancer, hypochondria and much more. Did I mention hypochondria? Well it turns out that mental thoughts or fears can cause your body to show symptoms of whatever you might think you have. It amazing what your mind can do to your body!Now to lung pain. What type of pain are you feeling? Soreness? Cramps? Does it hurt when you change your posture? Does it hurt when you breathe in or out but goes away with posture? Then congrats! You are worrying yourself for no reason.Your body contains the majority of sensing nerves in your skin, mouth, and throat. Your muscles contain nerves too but not as much. The majority of your organs(the stuff inside you) do not have pain receptors but cause "Referred pain". This is because your body is wired as poorly as you throwing wires at an electrical box. When someone gets a heart attack, you don't feel your heart hurt. You feel your chest, your gut, or your left arm hurt(and your ring finger). Just to show you how bad your body is wired, over 40% of individuals who have pain related to a heart attack is actually due to gas.... Now I'm not saying that you should ignore your body. Even though each pain nerve is connected together each part of your body can cause you to have a different feeling. When your aorta bursts(LARGEST ARTERY!) people feel a SHARP, TEARING! feeling in their back. This feeling does not go away with different postures and cause other symptoms such as fainting, blue fingers, dizziness and others. So what does silicosis feel like? The same way severe pneumonia feels like. It hurts....like ***l. Every time you breathe in and out, your lungs try to expand, but they expand too much and they cause a refered pain in your chest or back. This pain is a sharp stabbing feeling. Your other symptoms will include rapid breathing even though you can't catch your breathe, your fingers turn blue, and others. You probably read all the stuff silicosis does to you, so I won't continue.Now that I went through all that, lets talk about the silica in your lungs now. Silica DOES dissolve albeit slowly. It dissolve more rapidly when your body is slightly acidic. Im not saying to drink tons of lemons, or drink acid. However, moderate acid does raise your bloods acidity level naturally. Also eating fruits and vegetables(Yuck!) as your main diet can reduce the chance of getting silicosis.A study regarding Jaggery, an Indian sugar, has shown to reduce the change of developing silicosis dramatically. They made a reference that eating jaggery has a similar effect to eating fruits and vegetables. Now if you work with concrete, stucco, sand blasting and you wear safety equipment but your still worried, get some jaggery and eat a couple marble worth peices of it. Or become a vegetarian. Not only does silica dissolve, your body's immune system engulfs the offending particles and transports them to lymph nodes or to your circulatory system. YOur body can hold a few mg of silica without bodily harm. So wear a mask, and a good mask. Get yourself a N100 or a P100 respirator. YOu might not use it again after that, but its better to have and not need then to need and not have.Now I'm starting to get tired of writing so i'll continue with the other options.2. Read number one, and wear a better mask you cheapass. Get a N100 or a P100 Respirator. The N and P mean the ability of the mask to withstand oil.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • August 12, 2010
    • 10:57 PM
    • 0
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  • 3. Again Read 1 and 2. And I suggest complaining to the store or to your boss about your safety. Any store that does not notify you of getting a mask is a store not worth visiting or buying from again. IF you are working for someone and your boss did not tell you to wear a mask I suggest you get yourself a good lawyer for future use. OSHA has requirements for workers dealing with dangerous substances. These substances include silica. Also, your company can get fined, and heavily, if you are not wearing a mask that is adequate for the job.4. If you did this once, go to 1, 2 and go to a hospital for the insane. If you do this occasionally, than congratulate yourself for not only loosing your sense of smell but also a high risk for getting silicosis.5. Now to be serious. I suggest you go to a doctor and see a lawyer.I will try to write some more later if you want more. I hope this will help people who are worried about developing silicosis from being in a dusty field for a day.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • August 12, 2010
    • 10:58 PM
    • 0
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