Blowing the Whistle on Silica: Why It’s a Danger to Homeowners and Contractors
The Dangers of Silica in Home Construction: What You Need to Know
When most people think of the dangers associated with home construction, they think about things like electrocution or falling off a ladder. However, there is another danger that you need to be aware of: silica. According to Asbestos Courses Australia, silica is a dangerous mineral that can cause serious health problems if you are exposed to it.
Silica, also known as quartz, is a naturally occurring mineral that can cause serious health problems if it is inhaled. It can lead to a condition called silicosis, which occurs when the lungs become inflamed due to exposure to silica particles. Symptoms of silicosis include shortness of breath and wheezing. If left untreated, this condition could result in death.
There are several ways you may be exposed to silica during home construction projects. You could breathe in dust from sanding materials that contain high levels of respirable crystalline silica or from cutting or grinding materials containing the mineral. Silica is also found in concrete and mortar products that are used for building foundations and floors, and these products need to be cut or ground into smaller pieces as part of the construction process.
Given the dangers associated with silica, it is important that you take steps to protect yourself and your family when working with these products. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued guidelines for reducing exposure levels to respirable crystalline silica. These guidelines include using wet methods instead of dry methods whenever possible, having workers wear masks or respirators when cutting or grinding materials containing silica, and ensuring that air quality in all areas where sanding may occur is monitored.
If you are a homeowner who is planning home renovation or construction projects, it is essential that you understand how to handle silica-containing materials safely during the project. By doing so, you can help protect yourself and your family from the dangers of silicosis.