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Workers Ill from Silica Dust

Wilmington environmental lawyers represent clients with health conditions caused by silica dust.A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report highlighted the risks of chronic respiratory illness for individuals working with engineered stone commonly used in residential and commercial buildings. Currently the most widely used material for kitchen and bathroom countertops and vanities, artificial stone in its finished form is not dangerous. Yet, workers who chisel, grind, and polish these materials inhale tiny silica particles that can lead to silicosis, a serious and fatal condition.

Silica Dust Dangers

Silica, or quartz, is a common mineral found in a wide variety of building materials, such as concrete, sand, soil, and granite. When these materials are disturbed by cutting or grinding, tiny crystalline particles become airborne. If these particles are inhaled, they can lead to debilitating and fatal conditions, including:

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Kidney disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Silicosis

Silicosis develops within a few weeks to several years after exposure. Silica dust causes fluid and scar tissue to develop in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Over time, people with silicosis often need oxygen and other devices to help with breathing. Based on extensive scientific research on the dangers of silica dust exposure, both the World Health Organization and the American Cancer society identified crystalline silica as a known human carcinogen.

Preventing Silica Dust Exposure

In 2016, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reduced the amount of silica dust permitted in workspaces by half, a move that some industry groups found excessive. Yet, others want more far-reaching safety standards that include specific guidelines for workers who cut and shape engineered stone. Currently, OSHAs’ silica standard for construction requires the following safety practices:

  • Engineering controls that include wetting down workstations, vacuums, and other types of exhaust ventilation
  • Work practices recommended by tool manufacturers to limit airborne particles, including wetting dust before sweeping it up
  • Respirators when work practices and engineering controls are not enough to maintain safe silica levels

If you were harmed by exposure to a toxic chemical or substance, you do have recourse to seek damages for your medical bills and lost wages while you are unable to work. To receive the compensation you deserve for a preventable illness, you must prove exposure to a toxic material occurred and that exposure directly caused your illness. It takes an experienced Wilmington environmental lawyer to make this connection.

Wilmington Environmental Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Represent Clients with Health Conditions Caused by Toxic Exposure

If exposure to silica dust, mold, pesticides, or tainted water left you fighting a chronic or life-threatening condition, you may have cause to bring a claim against the person or company who should have protected you. To learn more about your rights and legal options, contact a Wilmington environmental lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. With offices in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we work with clients throughout the state, including Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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Since our founding, Jacobs & Crumplar has represented those injured physically, mentally, and emotionally by companies and the government. We are deeply troubled by the senseless killing of George Floyd and the injustice shown to countless others over the years. Consistent with our tradition, Jacobs & Crumplar stands in solidarity with all those working to eliminate systemic racism and with those who have been victimized by prejudice. Building a better society requires us all to play an active role.