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Silica Exposure Risks at Work

Dover toxic tort lawyers fight for victims of silica exposure.Across the country, millions of United States workers have been exposed to a substance called crystalline silica. Found in the Earth’s crust, this mineral is used in the manufacture of a variety of materials, including bricks, glass, and stone.

Construction workers, machine operators, steel workers, and other types of laborers who inhale the tiny particles of this substance are at risk of developing serious and potentially fatal respiratory diseases.

What is Silica?

Respirable crystalline silica, or silica dust, is microscopic – almost 100 times smaller than grains of sand. Concrete, granite, stone, and other materials contain this mineral.

When these materials are broken up by sanding, blasting, drilling, grinding, or manufacturing, workers become exposed to this fine dust.

What are the Risks of Silica Exposure?

Workers who inhale these tiny silica crystals are at a greater risk of developing:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Silicosis

Silicosis is an incurable lung disease caused by breathing in dust containing crystalline silica particles. The dust forms scar tissue that limits lung function and makes it difficult to extract oxygen from the air.

Acute silicosis can develop after brief exposure to crystalline silica particles, and the early stages of this disease often go unnoticed for years.

How Can Employers and Workers Control Exposure to Silica Dust?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established a Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL), in order to regulate the maximum amount of silica dust that employees can be exposed to in a single work shift. In addition to the PEL, OSHA is launching an education and training initiative to help employers reduce worker exposure to the potentially dangerous substance.

Silica exposure prevention often involves:

  • Changing of clothes and showering before leaving the worksite
  • Eating and drinking away from any space that may contain silica dust
  • Ongoing air quality monitoring
  • Proper ventilation
  • Use of respirators among workers
  • Replacement of silica with an alternative substance

What is an Environmental Toxic Tort?

An environmental toxic tort is a type of personal injury claim involving a plaintiff who has been harmed by exposure to any toxic chemical or material, including asbestos, benzene, mold, pesticides, and silica. This exposure can take place at home, through the use of various consumer products, in the environment, or at work.

Toxic tort cases are generally brought against anyone who may have a legal duty to protect the plaintiff, like an employer, landlord, or product manufacturer. In this type of case, the plaintiff must show they were exposed to the dangerous substance and harmed as a result.

Toxic tort cases can be challenging, because symptoms may not appear until years after the initial exposure. They require skilled legal counsel from a Dover chemical and toxic exposure lawyer experienced in this type of litigation.

Dover Toxic Tort Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Fight for Victims of Silica Exposure

If you have developed a silica related-disease, Dover chemical and toxic exposure injury lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help determine who may be liable for your exposure. To discuss your case, call 302-656-5445 or complete the online contact form to get started. Our offices are in Wilmington and Georgetown to serve residents throughout the state of Delaware.