Learning the Facts About Silicosis

A new NIOSH booklet provides easy-to-read recommendations in English and Spanish to help construction workers, abrasive blasters and other employees to protect themselves from the risk of silicosis when they are potentially exposed on the job to silica dust.

"Silicosis: Learn the Facts!/Silicosis: Conozca los datos!" (DHHS [NIOSH] Publication No. 2004-108) also includes statistics on the prevalence of work-related deaths from silicosis, and case studies with information to help employees recognize risk factors. The booklet notes that many people with work-related silicosis are only in their thirties.

"This new booklet illustrates NIOSH's commitment to meet the growing need for occupational safety and health resources that can be easily used by Latino employees and their employers," said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. "Written in clear, simple terms in two languages, it offers practical guidance for preventing the terrible occupational illness of silicosis."

The illustrated booklet includes recommendations for using a wide range of protective measures to reduce the risk of silica dust exposure, including:

  • Avoiding working in dust whenever possible.
  • Using water spray and ventilation to reduce the amount of airborne dust.
  • Using personal protective equipment properly where water spray and ventilation alone are not enough to reduce exposure effectively. (The booklet includes photographs to help employees recognize the proper types of respirators to use.)
  • Practicing good personal hygiene at the workplace to avoid contaminating hands, face, clothing, or vehicles with silica dust.

The booklet can be ordered from the NIOSH toll-free information number, 1-800-356-4674. It can also be downloaded from the NIOSH Web page at www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-108/default.html.

For more information about silicosis, see the article, "Why Are So Many Workers Still Exposed to Silica?"

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