Silica concrete

What is silica?

Crystalline silica is an abundant natural material found in soil, stone, and sand. It is also present in many construction materials such as brick, mortar, and concrete. It becomes respirable when any of these materials are cut or broken down into fine particles.

Silica filter comparison

Who is exposed?

More than 85% of workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica work in the construction industry. Other industries where workers are exposed include: asphalt roofing materials, concrete products, cut stone, dental laboratories, foundries, jewelry, porcelain enameling, pottery, railroads, ready-mix concrete, shipyards, structural clay products, and support activities for oil and gas operations.

What are the effects?

Below are some of the illnesses that can be caused by excessive inhalation of crystalline silica:

  • Silicosis - When crystalline silica enters the respiratory system, it causes permanent lung damage. The lungs tissue reacts to the silica particles by developing fibrotic nodules and scaring inside the lungs around the trapped particles. When the nodules grow larger, this causes breathing to become difficult. The damage is irreversible, and this can result in death.
  • Tuberculosis (increased risk for those with silicosis)
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung cancer

Find out how this can affect you

One Page Guide

Download our one page guide to OSHA's Respirable Silica Rule.


Summary Document

Download our summary document of OSHA's Respirable Silica Rule.


OSHA Respirable Crystalline Silica Standard

For the most up to date information visit the OSHA website.

Learn more

Did you know?

Your 5 O'Clock Shadow Can Be Dangerous

A tiny bit of stubble can break the seal of a tight-fitting respirator, meaning you and your lungs are no match for the toxic particles that can slip through.

Download the infographic