The redesigned topic page, which can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/silica/default.html, makes it easier and faster for users to find information about silica dust, primarily in its most hazardous form, respirable crystalline silica. It includes a brief summary about the prevalence of occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica, and the health effects associated with exposure. It also expands the number and variety of links to better reflect the wide range of information available from NIOSH and other authoritative sources.
The links on the redesigned topic page are designed to guide users directly to the type of information they seek. Initially, the user can view annotated links to the most recent NIOSH sources of information on silica, or select links to a more complete listing of NIOSH resources on silica or to resources on silica from other agencies and organizations.
For example, when users click on the link to NIOSH resources, they will find further links to NIOSH recommendations for preventing silicosis; to industry-specific NIOSH documents for abrasive blasting, construction, mining and other industries; to NIOSH's Web topic page on respirators; and to other types of technical and educational publications and documents from NIOSH.
At least 1.7 million U.S. workers are exposed to silica dust in a variety of industries and occupations. Silicosis, an irreversible but preventable disease, is the illness most closely associated with occupational exposure. Some studies also have linked exposure with risks for lung cancer and some auto-immune diseases.