Lung Disease Caused By Silica Dust: Types, Causes, and 7 Symptoms

By | October 10, 2019
Lung Disease Caused By Silica Dust - Silicosis

Lung Disease Caused By Silica Dust: Types, Causes, and Symptoms – Not only asbestos, silica can also be the cause of death for construction, manufacturing, and mining workers. Reported from, silica exposure has resulted in 789 workers ‘ deaths in the UK annually. Silicosis, Tuberculosis (TB), Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and arthritis are dangerous even lethal diseases due to silica exposure.

Read also: Water in lungs: The causes, symptoms, How to prevent and Treat it.

Silica (Lung Disease Caused By Silica Dust)

Silica is a mineral mixture consisting of one silicon (Si) and two oxygen atoms (O).

Oxygen (O2) is the most abundant element on the surface of this earth, whereas silicon (Si) is the most common element number on the Earth, with a very much amount of the surface of the earth to make silica bias found everywhere.

When silica is composed with the same model, it will form a silica crystal (Crystalyne Silica), with different names such as Quartz, Cristobalite, tridymite, etc.


Silicosis is a Lung Disease Caused By Silica Dust that causes inflammation and formation of scar tissue in the lungs. Silica is a crystal-like mineral that is very commonly found in sand, stone, and quartz. Silica can even have deadly consequences for people working related to stone, glass, concrete, or other stone forms.

Silicosis occurs when breathing, silica dust with a very small particle size enters and is trapped into the lungs resulting in damage to body tissue, resulting in lung tissue wounds from small to a round, known as nodule, the longer the nodule will grow bigger and many of which cause us difficulty breathing.

A total of 3,600 to 7,300 new cases occurred in the United States annually. Unfortunately, only 2 out of 50 countries, namely New Jersey and Michigan have a surveillance program to track the case of Silicosis. Consequently, many cases of silicosis are not reported and are not diagnosed properly.

Following types of industrial/activities and materials related to silica dust:

Industrial/Occupational Activity


  • Abrasive blasting/ sand blasting
  • Work related to asphalt
  • Blast furnace
  • Cement manufacturing
  • Ceramics, clay, and pottery
  • Concrete mixing
  • Construction (especially cement and concrete related work)
  • Demolition (demolition or demolition of buildings)
  • Electronics industry
  • Metal casting industry
  • Production of paint, soap and glass.
  • Mining
  • Iron and steel industry
  • Cutting, blasting, chipping, drilling, or sawing stone, concrete, or stone structures
  • Tunnel work
  • Abrasive
  • Coal dust
  • Concrete
  • Soil
  • Filtration additives (filter aid)
  • Graphite
  • Mica
  • Metal and non-metal minerals
  • Paint
  • Perlite
  • Material for factory use
  • Plastic filler material
  • Polishing compound
  • Portland cement
  • Sand
  • Silicate
  • Steatite (soap stone)

Read also: Lung Disease Emphysema: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment.

Causes of Silicosis

Lung Disease Caused By Silica Dust

A person who inhales silica dust for several years will experience silicosis. Silica is the main element of sand, a person who works as a metal mine laborer, stone and granite cutter, pottery maker, or metal casting worker at risk of suffering from silicosis.

Usually the symptom of silicosis rises after exposure for 20-30 years. But in the case of stone blasting, making tunneling and manufacture of sandpaper tools, where the resulting silica rate is very high, symptoms can arise in less than 10 years.

Types of Silicosis:

There are three types of silicosis:

  1. Acute silicosis, can cause cough, weight loss, and weakness in weeks or years exposure to silica.
  2. Chronic silicosis, appears 10-30 years after exposure to silica. The upper lungs can be affected and sometimes cause prolonged wounds.
  3. Accelerated silicosis, occurs within 10 years of high-level exposure.

What are the signs and symptoms of silicosis?

Some signs or symptoms of silicosis are:

  • The cough is an early symptom and develops as long as the exposure of silica inhalation.
  • In acute silicosis, fever and chest pain that feels piercing and breathing difficulties will emerge. These symptoms can appear unexpectedly.

Other possible symptoms include:

  • Chest Pain
  • Fever
  • Night Sweat
  • Weight loss
  • Respiratory disorders

Symptoms of silicosis can occur for a few weeks to yearly after exposure to silica dust. Symptoms will deteriorate as time goes on, especially once the wounds appear in the lungs.

There may be signs and symptoms not mentioned above. When you have concerns about a certain symptom, consult it with your doctor.

Read also: Symptoms, and 10 Natural Remedies For Lung Cancer

Thank you very much for reading Lung Disease Caused By Silica Dust: Types, Causes, and Symptoms, hopefully useful.

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