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Silicosis And Overexposure to Silica Dust Am I At Risk? (Page 1)

I think I posted this in the wrong place, I appolgize. I am brand new to this site.


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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First Helper Anon1985
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Users who thank aaronwinter for this post: Janet1  HealthyBest 

replied February 3rd, 2009
Same here
Are you dead, or did you contract acute silicosis. Because the same thing happened to me, but i was only exposed to drywall dust for about 2 hours. I decided to stop once i started spitting out saliva and drywall dust that looked like the origainal joint compound. I also read up on acute silicosis, which brought me to this website. It's been 3 years since you last posted, and would like to know if any thing happend to you. From what i read, acute silicosis happend after large amounts of exposer over several months.please let me know on the status of our health
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replied October 25th, 2012
Hi jnava,

Your post was three years ago, so I have little hope that you're still coming to this site, but if you happen to get this response, could you please let us know how you are now? Thanks.
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replied August 1st, 2015
Extremely eHealthy
You should see a lung Dr.
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replied January 25th, 2016
I was wondering if anyone had or has severe coughing after being exposed to the dust. My husband has never worn any protection while around the dust of grouting, working in industrial jobs. He recently was involved in a project when he inhaled cement dust particles, I have read a lot on this subject. beside the chest pain is anyone having severe hacking cough? After exposure and or fever? I've learned a lot from these posts. I wear mask all the time since I am allergic to just about everything. thanks
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replied July 25th, 2010
high level Silica dust exposure.
I have recently exposed myself to a high level of Silica dust. It happened a couple of months ago. I have been in limbo ever since. I was working on a small DIY job which entailed cutting about a 1 m long chase in a concrete floor. I did all the wrong things. I use a dry diamond cutting disk and I was wearing a very loose fitting paper mask which was a cheap thin one. I was head down cutting this chase for about an hour and when I stopped and turned around I realised that the room was completely full with concrete dust, so much so that I could not see the other side of a 4m sq room.
It was very obvious when I took the mask off that I had breathed in a considerable amount of dust.
I spent the next couple of days with a tight chest and decided to go to my doctor. When there the doctor immediately went down the chest pain heart attack track and gave me a ECG that revealed that my heart pulse rate was 35bpm. I was subsequently taken to hospital for heart checks. The hospital did not pay too much attention to the dust aspect but monitored my heart for 24 hrs and then let me out. What really concerns me is the level of ignorance both by the DIY concrete cutter operator operators and the medical profession when dealing with short duration high levels of silica dust exposure.
The x ray done at the hospital revealed no signs of lung damage or contamination, which it would not show being done only days after the accident.
I, like Aarom Winter, am at a loss to know what i can do and what the prognosis really is. Can anyone help.
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replied October 25th, 2012
Hi Puhoi,

It's been two years now since your post - I'd realllllly appreciate if you'd come back to the site to let us know how you are. Did your symptoms subside? Did they get worse? Thanks.
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replied August 2nd, 2010
Hey Puhoi,
I myself was in a very similar situation. I was cutting cement blocks in the basment without wearing a mask for a few minutes using at first a shirt to avoid inhaling dust. This was a poor choice, and I later got a better method of protecting myself from silica. I bought a mask, not the best one, the slightly better n95 mask that did not give a nice rubber seal. I worked in these conditions maybe a total of a few hours, and would hold my breathe to go into the basement for the first few days. Then I started reading about silicosis. I dread the day I decided to learn about how cement works and found out about silicosis. When I read about acute silicosis, I nearly had a heart attack. Then I started to worry and started thinking about my lungs, which caused slight discomfort in my chest. Every breath I would take, would send me in a panic as the shirt would rub against my skin and make my chest feel as if it is rattling. Then I started to read journals and my worries went away for the most part, but I still have thoughts about it here and now.

Now to the good and bad parts.
Acute silicosis, according to the cdc and Merck( Type in Merck Silicosis in google) says that acute silicosis is acquired by breathing in silicosis at high levels for a short period of time. Unlike most sources of Silicosis, the short period of time is A FEW MONTHS to a YEAR. And you would need to do this at a rate of 8 hours a day 5 days a week.

Silica does dissolve, albeit in small amounts, in body fluid and turned into sililic acid(sp?) which is removed from the body through your kidneys.

The Bad.
What you are experiencing is what I experienced when cleaning an attic and a basement for a few hours. Your body is responding to the lye, silica and whatever is placed in concrete(proprietary blends). Your lungs will get inflamed, and you may or may not get a fever and possible lung scarring( very very very rare).

Your heart rate, was very low which does not indicate inadequate oxygen. Usually your heart rate goes up when you do not have enough oxygen. To make it easier to understand, when you run your heart beats much faster because your body, notices an increase in Carboxylic Acid ( Acid formed from CO2) and a decrease in Oxygen. So to get oxygen to your vital organs, your heart has to pump more blood per minute.

What was the blood pressure at the time where your heart rate was 35bpm.

Thanks.
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replied October 25th, 2012
Anon1985 - you seem to have more knowledge about this than a lot of people. Don't know if you'll ever come back to this site, but I'd really appreciate being able to talk to you further.

I too have done a lot of reading, and recognize that "short period of time" for Acute Silicosis is weeks/months/years. But I get the feeling that that's the length of time it needs before Merck/CDC can *diagnosis* the disorder radiographically, not the amount of exposure actually required. In terms of the actual amount of exposure required...I, like everyone else, have no idea.

Anyway, at the moment I'm 4-days post my exposure and experiencing some of the symptoms that you were describing. I'd really appreciate speaking to you further, to find out how long it may last, when I should or shouldn't get more concerned, etc. Or post back to this site. Thanks.
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replied January 14th, 2013
Hi GFactor.
The issues you are describing are similar to a normal immune reaction to the caustic materials in concrete. I actually wrote quite a bit on another forum site as Biostudent.
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replied March 6th, 2012
please help
Please help me, I too was completely ignorant and did not know the dangers. I have cut concrete 3 times all outside without a mask. Maybe 10 minutes each job. I then jackhammer for 2 days outside no respirator. The worst was a few months ago I had to cut out a rock for a monument .I finally wised up and used a r 95 respirator although sometimes I would take it off because it was so hot and not use it for maybe 10 minutes. I was using a dry grinding wheel to cut the stone so there was a good amount of dust. I did this for 5 days at about 4 hours a day. Can someone please tell me if I could get acute silicosis from that amount. I had a chest x ray which was negative but it sounds like it wouldn't show up yet anyway. I have had chest pain but I done know if its just anxiety. Does anyone have advise or know someone who handed more exposure than this and are okay? Please help!
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replied October 25th, 2012
Hi Stonecutter,

I, like the rest of the posters, am in a similar situation. An hour or so, in a badly ventilated room, with a good amount of silica dust from a hammer drill. I've *definitely* got some lung tightness three days later; but also have sufficient anxiety to likely be compounding the symptoms.

I notice that none of the posters have come back to let us know how they are. This is disheartening, because their stories could help others determine how seriously to take their situation. Not sure if this site will send a notification email to let you know that someone responded, but if it does, please do let me know how you've been since March. Have your symptoms gone away? Have they gotten any worse?

Thanks.
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replied January 14th, 2013
Hi Gfactor, again. The problem with a lot of forums is that if the issue is resolved they almost never come back. I'm still fine and healthy. I can run about 3 miles without much training(I'm a couch potato) and still continue if my legs don't give out first. If you are truly concerned about your health then you can go to a doctor. I've asked my doc about it and he said sure its bad for your lungs but you arent exposed to it on a continuous basis. A lot of the information out there is limited unless you know what you are looking for. One of the most common thing while reviewing this disease is that many site say that Silicia cannot be removed from the lungs. This is in fact false. Silica can be removed from the lungs if there is adequate time between exposures. Please find a study regarding Jaggery in Coal miners and the movement of coal and silica from lungs to other parts in the body.
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replied January 14th, 2013
Thanks so much for the response Anon - you're the first one, on several sites, to do so, and I appreciate it.

At this point things have started to settle with my body - I'm still experiencing some mild symptoms and chest tightness - which shouldn't be minimized since it's now been several months - but the worst of it seems to be over. For the most part in just back to living my life...but not so much so that I'm not still a little worried about the damage I did.

the good news, for anyone that comes next, is that I don't *think* I'm at much increased risk for silicosis than the next guy. That doesn't mean I didn't do my lungs a disservice: as I said, even months later things still feel a bit tight and congested, and I'm often taking super deep breaths to just "stretch things out". But it's worth knowing that 2 hours of breathing high levels of silicosis will cause short and medium term inflammation...but not silicosis. This is the type of information I couldn't find online, so I'll provide a bit more for future readers:

* I a low-grade fever for about a week.
* I had significant burning in my chest, partially caused by concurrent esophageal inflammation. This esophageal inflammation has lasted longer, but is clearer dissociated from ling pain.
* I had chest tightness significant enough to prevent me from yawning properly for about two weeks. It blocked a sneeze once too.
* I had a sharp pain in my back, left side, under the shoulder blade. This didn't start for about 2-3 weeks, and lasted about a month.

Which is to say that I had pretty significant symptoms. But I don't have silicosis. So, for those of you after me: don't freak out, pay attention to your symptoms, compare them to mine, and know that you're probably going to be fine.

hope that helps someone.
Matt
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replied January 14th, 2013
Hi Matt,
That's great news. I saw your account on another area of the interweb(I replied to it in this forum but i don't think they will post it) I was the Biostudent123 and Biostudent1234(5?). I made the incredibly long post that included some studies and what not. The bigger problem that many people face is the lack of knowledge from journals that are at times difficult to track. This and the vagueness of many health/science sites out there. I've met a few people who work with concrete and without masks and they just had sinus problems. I've also seen countless amounts of construction workers in a cloud of dust using paper filters. Want to see another common way people can breathe in silica? Ever watch a baseball game where the hitter slides to a base and a cloud of ash comes up? Granted they don't sit in there for hours at a time but they do breathe some in. Our body is a remarkable piece of machinery that although it can have its faults and poor wiring or nerves(Referral pain) are made to survive quite a lot. We can filter out quite a lot of material from the air. But when your constantly exposed to it your filter can become less efficient. That's why its called an occupational disease. Same with asbestos. Look at your house(Unless its relatively new), your house may contain so much asbestos without you even realizing it. I already gave myself a heart attack when I found out. Walls, floors, tiles, insulation and wiring. I felt like my house was a bloody death trap. But it doesn't work that way. It takes years of exposure( not by looking at it mind you) to get any real harm. Not just a single exposure(Unless your snorting glass or asbestos). Well I'm ranting on.
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replied August 18th, 2013
Hi Anon,

Hope you are still checking this forum. I had a slate floor installed recently and the contractor used a grinder (dry, not wet process) to grind it to an even surface. It took about 6 hours, there was a plastic sheet separating it from the rest of the house, but there was alot of visible dust in the air. I happened to be home at the time and was in another room for about 3 hours, and right beside it for about 1 hour. I had no mask on and could taste the dust in the air..so stupid! Since then I am producing a lot of mucus and having to clear my throat alot. Went to the dr. and he said my nasal passages are inflamed and i am on a corticosteroid nasal spray for a month to reduce inflammatioin. I am concerned if this exposure is considered brief, but large and could cause Acute Silicosis for me or anyone else in my family. we swept and mopped the dust and tried to air the house out as best as we could, but I am almost panicked thinking about how serious this could be. Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated.
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replied January 18th, 2015
Hi Matt,

Thanks for your detailed post. How are you carrying on these days? Just before New Years I decided to do some grout work in my poorly ventilated bathroom and didn't see much need for a mask granted not being aware of silicosis, the directions not saying to use a mask first (or at all), and the fact that I wan't doing a much beyond mixing a small tub worth and applying it by hand (another mistake, wear gloves). I attempted not to inhale too much but since silica is microscopic, along with many other ingredients, I must have inhaled too much. I wound up vomiting a little, having diarrhea, chest tightness, and chest pains later that night. It's now been about three weeks and everything but occasional chest pains during the day and when I lay on either side at night occur. I have ran a couple times for 10-20min lengths without pains or fatigue/shortness of breathe. I'm assuming I am in the clear for the most part since my doctor thought I had a virus but blood work came back fine. He said that I'll not develop silicosis due to exposure being only being once for about 2-3 hours. He hasn't done an x-ray yet and I don't blame him since nodules, if they are to develop, take quite some time to develop (months to years). But I am concerned with the length of these pains that seem to be gone some days but come back others. Anyway, are you still feeling fine given that it's been two years? Nothing has reoccurred? I realize you said your pains lasted 2-3 months but it still has me worried since the chest pains were gone for about a week but came back recently (2 days ago). These are pains right behind my rib cage and sternum, I even felt like I had something stuck in my throat up until a few days ago.

Again, thanks for your detailed post and I hope you check this, or even if someone else does and can weigh in. I wish the best for all of you that have had this happen to you either knowingly or unknowingly. It truly is amazing how little people are made aware of this or the opportunities there are to address this issue since it's essentially an ancient hazard. Let's all hope scientists find an inexpensive way to clone or 3-D print a copy of our own lungs soon!

"are you still feeling fine given that it's been two years? Nothing has reoccurred?"
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replied July 7th, 2015
I'm posting to update you all on my condition (GreenT87). It has been just over 7 months since my exposure and I have had lots of ups and downs but the best news is that my overall condition is much better than it was at the time of my original post.

Taking into consideration my exposure level and situation, upon my doctor visits, x-ray, and blood tests, there are no evident signs of an issue. I have had chest tightness, sinus sensitivity, random chest pains along the center of my chest, etc. I stopped short of going through with a scheduled endoscopy and so far I am glad I did.

Today I have finally coughed up after powerful and forceful coughs some black material (I have no idea what this actually is but at least it has a psychological effect). Overall I am feeling much better (I'm not short of breath and am not getting winded easily. I have stopped my exercise routine but am still very active, light swimming and biking) but still have occasional sensitivity in my chest when I breathe deep.

From all of my research via my universities database, contacting a national silicosis organization, and consulting with my doctor, an experience like mine causes prolonged effects due to what was inhaled and reaction to those materials (powder grout is abrasive after all).

The only OPTIMISTIC research I found is also in regard to the inhalation of kombucha and the consumption of jaggery/panella (I actually brew my own kombucha now and use some panella in the brewing process). Be sure to research kombucha though before consuming!!!!! I have no idea if any of these things have helped me but again, this has at least had psychological benefits. The only issue I have encountered with kombucha as a heads up is acid re-flux for several days due to not having diluted it enough based upon the acidic strength (varies upon length of fermentation).

Overall, I'm expecting a full recovery by this time next year but plan to update this if things change.

Best of luck to everyone.

-Mark
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replied June 11th, 2016
Hi Mark, any further update? Coughing up 'black material' sounds somewhat concerning.
Thanks!
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replied July 18th, 2012
silicosis and expose to silica dust am I at risk
so hard to find answers...I have 21 years of mining. repairing rock crushers, cement silos, sand and gravel plants cutting grinding welding, air arcing manganese steel and galvanized pipes and you name it. very dirty dusty job. have a hard time breathing and walking upstairs makes me dizzy and very tired. wake up a night out of breath. coughing my head off and pulmonary Nodules too. best of luck to all.
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replied January 14th, 2013
21 years is quite a long time to be exposed to all these materials. How often have you worn masks during your jobs? Have you gone to a pulmonary doctor to review your lung health?
Welding Materials have been known to cause issues with lungs, known as a Welder's flu, even for short exposures however these symptoms are mild and are not well known for long term issues(They usually go away within a day). The other items are a bit more concerning considering the time spent in these areas. I would recommend getting an appointment with a Pulmonary doctor to review your lung health.
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replied February 5th, 2013
silicosis cutting or grinding concrete and masonary workers
I have been diagnosed with it (silicosis). Your body can handle some exposer to anything and recover. As far as silica and my situation I had exposer for around 10 years 2 hours a day 5 days a week cutting cement in enclosed buildings where it would be so dustly that you had about 5 feet of visability using (just a paper mask). Have shortness of breath, weakness and tired flu like symtoms (no fever), chest pain sometimes during breathing in, chronic cough a few times a week, it is just debilitating but doc said I'm not going to die from it although you most certainly can if you case is worse then mine. If you do have exposer wear a good mask (respirator), always change the mask filters, or just find another job.To find out if you are having any problems from silica exposer get a chest x-ray. If it shows anything like nodules or so forth then have a breathing test done. If you still worried have a broncoskope I think it is called. Then if you want have a lung biopsy. Also it will usually show up on X-Ray before you even start having complications at least mine did. It was 4 years after my X-Rays showed polmonary nodules before I started having any real problems. If you are having complications get away from it because your bodies defense mechanism has been broke down and it will not fight off new exposer well. If you see someone in these type of enviroments make them aware of the disease many just don't know I never did. Tell them to take a minute and read about it on thecomputer it could save there lives or at least save them from alot of complications! Don't worry about being exposed once a month for a few minutes here and there you will probabaly be fine but that is just my opinion?
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replied February 20th, 2013
Hey there, I am a stonemason and regularly cut sandstone by hand and with grinders or stihl saws. I am 22 now and started cutting stone when I was 18. I guess on average I cut stone by hand for around 30 hours a week and maybe cut using a grinder for 1 or 2 hours a week. For the first 6 months of my apprenticeship I elected not to wear a mask as I believed that silicosis wouldn't affect me until old age. Then one night I had difficulty breathing in bed, it scared me enough to go to the doctors where I was told that there was no way for it to be silicosis, due to the short length of time exposed, and that it was inflammation. I was given an inhaler which permanently alleviated the symptoms. Since then I have never cut without a mask. I use a 3m 7523m mask provided by my employer, I think they sell for about 37. I'd recommend to anyone to purchase a proper re-usable face mask as opposed to the disposable paper ones, when cutting stone with a grinder you can honestly taste the dust through a disposable mask. The step up from a face mask is an air-stream helmet. These in case your head and pump air into the helmet preventing the outside air from circulating in. These are far more effective but very pricey (500) and abit cumbersome for the work that I do. Also something I found out recently which surprised me is that the only time to change a filter is when it requires more force than you're willing to use to suck in the air to take a breath. The manufacturer of my mask states that the filter actually becomes more effective the more dust that it holds inside of it.
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replied March 25th, 2013
Silicosis
I was exposed for over two years because of a sand borrow pit behind my home. When I called the site operator, he had no idea what silica dust was. Health and Human services, though, said I was at risk. I cannot move, so I had to buy a respirator for in my own home.

I cough up phlegm a lot and have non diagnosed lung issues that I never had before. This was 8 hours a day for 2 years and still ongoing due to a DOT project.
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replied August 13th, 2013
Dust after skim coat sanding
Hello. I don't work in the industry, but had almost every room in my house skim coated and sanded. There was dust everywhere! My dog and I lived there for four days during all this. I ran across some websites and got worried and moved out for a few days. I had a professional cleaning service come in. But this stuff is hard to get rid of. I'm living with it. I'm a non smoker, but both of my parents died of lung cancer. I'm so worried that I breathed that dust in for almost a week and my dog was exposed. Can anyone tell me if I'm in danger from the time I spent in the house, and going forward?
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replied November 15th, 2014
Hello All,

I have a geology degree from a credited Wisconsin university that has been doing revolutionary research on the types of particles that cause silicosis.

I will begin with the end, you will not get silicosis from your house. Respirable silica dust that can lead to silicosis is less than 4 microns in diameter. For perspective, the average human hair is 100 microns. So we are talking about very tiny particles! Now, your situation is dealing with the drywall. Drywall is made up of Gypsum, which is not quartz (silica). So based on that argument alone, you can't get silicosis from drywall. Furthermore, unless you have sand dust in your home, your not going to get silicosis. You have absolutely nothing to be worried about.

Second, Silica dust is just quartz, SiO4, essentially beach sand. People play in the stuff and don't get silicosis. Why? Because beach sand does not contain silica dust less than 4 microns. The Bottom line is, you dont get silicosis from the actual quartz grains themselves that you see, you get it from the silica cement that holds them together. The majority of sandstones, at least in Wisconsin, do not contain silica cement between the grains, especially the units that are mined for industrial sand. Sand companies only mine sandstone that does not contain silica cement. This is because it is incredibly strong and the sand cannot be broken apart.

Long story short, the only people that should be largely worried about this stuff is people that cut cement, or crush sandstone that contain silica cement. I am not qualified to diagnose silicosis, and can only speak on locations where you will get it.
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replied January 16th, 2015
I used an angle grinder with a diamond wheel attachment to grind off some tile adhesive on my kitchen floor. The adhesive/cement looked like it had been put down within the last 30 years, was white in colour (the old kitchen looked like it was put in during 1980s) and was on top of chipboard (which is all in tact) underneath ceramic tiles in about a 3 metre square area. I wore a dust mask taking regular breaks but have been quite worried about the damage I may inadvertently done to myself. I have never done anything like this before and read since that it's the fine dust that could be a potential area for concern.

From my research I read that RCS is a risk if exposed for prolonged lengths of time whereas this work was carried out over a few hours and quite concentrated which I thought might be significant.

I have read a number of the posts that say it is an overreaction to think we could have silicosis which is a comfort it's just that if you go onto silica-safe.org or hse.gov.uk then having done this work I would think I must have contracted it.

I did the work in July last year and had no ill effects only in November stared to get rheumatoid arthritis which I noticed was connected somehow with exposure to silica but not sure how. I have no other symptoms but am so worried I can't sleep. Is it too soon to get x rays as some replies I have had said it can take a number of years before anything shows up if at's going to.

Wish some of the people who posted originally would let us know how they are getting on

All the best to you all
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replied February 23rd, 2015
I recently worked on a project involving sanded grout that contains high amounts of crystalline silica (40 -70%). Unfortunately I inhaled a substantial amount without realizing the contents of grout and the effects of silica until further research after the project. This wasn't an ordinary project. I'm a photographer and this was a photo shoot at a studio. We used it as powder and threw it in the air to capture the dust clouds in the photos. When we purchased this at Home Depot, it didn't even cross our minds how dangerous it was. I poured 3, 25lb bags (75lb total) of polyblend sanded grout on the floor and stood at about 8 foot distance away from the model. she grabbed handfuls of this stuff and tossed it towards the camera and in other different directions. The shoot lasted 2 hours and we stayed to clean up for 2 hours afterwards (sweeping). It was 75 pounds of sanded grout and 100 pounds of mortar in a 2100 sq/ft room with a little fan blowing and little ventilation. The dust got on everything and the air was thick with dust the entire time. We had about 3-4 hours of exposure to this with no masks. My ignorance has put a huge scare on me. I've been feeling shortness of breathe, throat irritation and tightening of the chest.

(The grout was tossed in the air towards me throughout the shoot. The air was quite cloudy in the room regardless of the size. I tossed the grout in front of me several times with my bare hands as well. But I didn't have problems breathing or talking in the room.)

I've been doing some thorough research myself but the amount of silica inhaled to be considered high concentration (enough to cause lung cancer or silicosis years from now) is a little unclear. Is the amount I mentioned with no respiratory mask dangerous? I've read that these tiny particles can penetrate through the defenses of the lung and start scarring it in the long run. I've also read that it is possible to have acute silicosis through a single lethal exposure to crystalline silica. I know too much research is bad for a hypochondriac like me but I'd like some honest and thorough explanation of my chances on these long term lung issues.

The Polyblend Sanded Grout was purchased at Home Depot and is a much finer grout that contains 40-70% (seems really high to me).

Here is the link to the safety data sheet.
http://www.custombuildingproducts.com/medi a/740155/polyblend_sanded_grout_english_15 -mar-2013.pdf

This is the exposure equation.
((10 mg/m3)/(%SiO2+2) TWA (resp))
((30 mg/m3)/(%SiO2+2) TWA (total))
((250)/(%SiO2+5) mppcf TWA (resp))
Symptoms may not appear immediately.


Fast forward 3 weeks from the shoot. I experience chest pains, shortness of breath, and dry coughs. I've had chest x-rays, EKG's and visited 2 urgent care doctors as well as an ER doctor. Everything came back normal so I'm not sure what is going on. Instead I was diagnosed with sinus infection and acid reflux cause of stomach pains as well. I've requested to do a PFT (pulmonary function test). Haven't been able to eat or sleep properly just worrying about this. Any thoughts?
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replied March 21st, 2015
2 Months after exposure and some Omeprazol to treat my gerd symptoms, I'm feeling healthy and fine. No coughs, no shortness of breath, and feeling a lot more relaxed about the whole experience. My PFT came back perfectly normal. No obstruction in my lungs. Good luck to those out there who've experienced my similar situation.
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Users who thank WombatKombat for this post: MoBG 

replied March 21st, 2015
Hi Wombat. Try fresh raw apple juice for gerd, especially if troubled at night. Just slice an apple and chew the pieces (with skin OK if clean), swallow the juice and spit out the pulp. One or two apples usually does it. Use new seasons apples when possible. Apples should be juicy and sweet - Pink lady is a good one. , but cooking variety apples can work too.
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replied May 28th, 2015
Hello Pingando,

Thanks for your reply. I'll definitely try it out and see how it goes. I still deal with stomach problems but my coughing has completely subsided. Still on omeprazole and changing my diet for the better every day.

Cheers!

- Wombat
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replied July 7th, 2019
Hello,
Would love an update WombatKombat. How are you feeling today?
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replied July 7th, 2019
I responded to your private message but for others that are requesting an update, I'm alive and well. My lungs are healthy and I experience no symptoms. I stay active and am being treated for dustmite allergies so I get my lung capacity checked out frequently. Everything checks out and I feel great. Don't let the internet researching scare you guys too much! Cheers!
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replied April 22nd, 2015
Silicosis from Pool grade DE
Hi,

I accidentally bought pool grade Diotomaceous Earth that has 70% silica to fight bedbugs. I dusted my entire house and the dust was everywhere on all my belongings, bed, carpet, and walls. I have been breathing this for a week before I realised my error and quickly (tried to) vacuum everything I could.
When I dusted, the dust was in the air for quite a while, and being in my house, I have been living wit it for almost 2 hrs for a week.
I have been having dry coughs and recently, some tightness in my chest area with wheezing.
Do you think I have silicosis?
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replied May 28th, 2015
Hello Okicho89.

I'm really sorry to hear about this and I'm sure you've been worried. I myself had quite a scare. Have you been exposed 2hrs a day for a week or 2hrs during the whole week? Or did you meant to type 24 hrs? The bag says that it contains 70% crystalline silica? My doctors have told me that a lot of times tightness of chest, wheezing and cough is due to your bodies' natural reaction to any dust exposure. Almost like you've been in a desert storm but should pass within a week or two. Sometimes a sinus problem may occur. What I've experienced is GERD which is more stomach related due to my exposure than lungs. I noticed this was posted last month. How have you been feeling? I've spoken to many doctors and pulmonologist about my exposure so I definitely have a pretty clear understanding of what it's like. Let me know.

- Wombat
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replied July 7th, 2015
I second this. Please see my most recent comment reply above for information about my experience.

Glad to hear you're better Wombat. It's worth noting that prolonged exposures to high levels seems to be more than a few hours for a few days or less. Hope you'll be alright Okicho89.

To anyone who has or is developing issues, I did pretty thorough research on kombucha, panella/jaggery. Chinese researchers have done research of kombuch inhalation with mice and it helped. There was also a positive correlation with consumption of panella/jaggery and reduced amounts of crystallized free silica. It seems like these two research topics won't be seriously investigated again anytime soon though. The kombucha makes sense since the only thing that dissolves the cfs is acid and kombucha has various levels of acidity based upon fermentation length and it seems possible that if low enough it could dissolve cfs and not hurt your respiratory system. But again, this has NOT been thoroughly researched so who knows?
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replied May 31st, 2016
Hi WombatKombat,
Any further update on your situation?
I was exposed to motar dust and have had a cough for 3 weeks now...
Thanks!
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replied June 28th, 2015
Hi all,

I have recently been very concerned about inhaling silica but not because of the usual reasons i.e construction work.
I have been crushing magnesium pills so that I can swallow them easily and they contain silica as an anti-caking agent. I hadn't realised the potential dangers but I have been inhaling the dust when swallowing these tablets and it gives me a nasty cough everytime I do it. As I have been doing this on and off for over a year, I am now really scared that I have been damaging my lungs! Am I being over-paranoid?
I cough a lot, sometimes feel short of breath and feel smothered but I also suffer with anxiety.

Any thoughts? Should I be worried?
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replied July 7th, 2015
CFS is fine to consume. It dissolves as it passes through your digestive system. The only problem is when it is inhaled, as you have noted. After doing lots of research using my university's database, results aren't totally conclusive. Please see my previous posts to see what I found about Kombucha and panella/jaggery (sugar cane rock candy that has two different names based upon whether you are in Latin America or India. think maple syrup rock candy but from sugar cane plants.). It SEEMS like it isn't the concentration that would be an issue, but rather the consistency. Try your best not to inhale the dust anymore, exercise, stay well hydrated, and give it up to 18 months. Your respiratory system may take that long to heal from side-effects. After 18 months you still have problems or something shows up in an x-ray, don't worry it. Maybe get and x-ray now and then have another taken after 12 months to see if anything has changed? That is what I found was suggested in my research.

Good luck everyone and remember to spread awareness of this topic! Oh and if anyone is a lawyer here, please contact me. I have an idea for a lawsuit you might be interested in hearing in order to improve safety.
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replied July 14th, 2015
I was wondering if anybody could assess my potential exposure to silica dust. So I was doing some labor work at a glass manufacturing facility. I do not work there regularly I was just helping one day with a cleanup job. There were a large number of wooden pallets that needed to be placed and stacked in big disposal containers. Some of these wooden pallets looked like they were covered in silica dust. At first I was doing the work fairly carelessly then after a few stacks I realized that the dust might be harmful. From then on I would tip over the pallets and let the dust fall off while I held my breath. I'm worried I may have been exposured to silica dust while doing this work. About halfway through the job I got an N95 mask off somebody after telling them about my concern. However I did not properly fit the mask(didn't realize I was supposed to bend the metal piece..stupid I know)so now I'm worried that the mask offered me little to no protection. How much respirable dust would be present in such work? Would must of the respirable particles be blown away from me since I was outside? Does transporting the materials outdoors get rid of the small particles or am I still at equal risk? I know it's unlikely I caused silicosis but I still worry about potential scarring and the silica being in my lungs forever. Thanks
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replied February 22nd, 2016
Hi everyone,

First off, I want to thank you all for posting information about this as well as you stories. I too have been experiencing shortness of breath lately and a persistent dry cough. All of this started last month (January 2016) when my dad and I began to renovate a bathroom in our house (new shower and floor tiles). Basically, we've been cutting cement board and mixing thinset mortar without any protection. The first time we did it (back in early January), I got a severe reaction: I experienced shortness of breath and dry cough for about 2 to 3 days. The symptoms then slowly went away (less than a week, I think) and I recovered somewhat. However, I can't say how good that recovery was, because we continued to mix thinset mortar every other day afterwards and I still had a mild cough. Basically, I was just really cautious about the whole mortar mixing by doing it in the garage and not breathing at all (we couldn't do it outside, because it was too cold). Thus, it is possible that we still got exposed to silica dust, but probably at very low concentrations, as I didn't get sick again.

Anyways, fast forward to last week (mid-February). I had to do some tile cutting, so I put on one of those N95 disposable face masks from Home Depot. I did it and the dust didn't seem to bother me at all. So the next day when I did my usual mixing of thinset mortar, I put on that mask and thought I would be safe with it and didn't have to hold my breath. But after I was done mixing the thinset, I immediately started coughing badly again. It's been 5 days since then, and so far I've had a dry cough and shortness of breath (again) every day. Not sure if I should go see my Dr or wait again for a few more days like last time (and hope that I recover again). Do you think I can get Acute Silicosis from these exposures so far?

What is rather interesting is that both my dad and I have been doing the mortar mixing pretty much equally. But he's been okay so far (thankfully). He only coughed a few times when it got really dusty the first time that we mixed the mortar (when I got sick).

Anyways, if anyone has any advice, please do share it. Also, I will try to keep you all updated how this goes.
And again, I'd like to thank everyone for posting your stories. They do give me a bit of hope that this will all pass and everything will turn out for the better. Smile
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replied February 26th, 2016
I have been exposured to clay once or twice which is 40% silica.

The last time I was exposured was back in September , I have since been feeling chest tightness and burning sensation.

I have been to my doctors and he checked my lungs with stethoscope and thinks they are fine. I have also been for chest X Ray which was clear .

My question is does anyone have any idea why my chest is burning ?
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replied March 7th, 2016
Your chest is burning because it's inflamed. Dust gives the lung a pretty good workout and anyone with asthma will see a return of symptoms. A doctor will need to check your symptoms and prescribe some kind of steroid to dampen down the inflammation.
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replied March 7th, 2016
Silicosis, is rare to non-existent for a single exposure, the smallest most dangerous particles are so tiny <10micron and take months to years to build up, but since the lungs have no pain receptors it will creep up on you.
Anyone with exposure .. stop now and stop smoking if you do. Tell other people also, as its not a condition that's publicised sadly.

For some reading:
http://www.silica-safe.org/know-the-hazard /whats-the-risk
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/silicosis/Pag es/Introduction.aspx
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