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Respiratory Hazard - Silica Whitepaper

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Every time you set foot on a new construction or renovation site, you take stock of the different risks and dangers to avoid. You spot the small pieces of concrete flying up into the air as your colleagues drill into the ground. You notice the sharp power-tools slicing through slabs of rock and quartz. You keep an eye on the massive cement mixer kicking up dust as it crushes and mixes its heavy concoction. But what about the dangers you can't see? Can you detect the fumes, smoke and dust that rush through your respiratory system and cling dangerously to your lungs? We can. That's why we've spent decades keeping you informed on potential risks and improving respiratory protection products that help keep your lungs out of harm's way. For many, minuscule particles of airborne Crystalline Silica pose a serious risk. Here's an overview of what you need to know in order to avoid the serious long-term harm Silica could do to your lungs. As a basic component of soil, sand and rock, Silica is one of the most widespread minerals on earth. It's most commonly found in quartz, which in turn is used in products like concrete, brick, ceramic tiles, dental filings, jewelry, tombstones and more. Though it exists in many forms, it becomes crystalline and airborne when exposed to high heat or intense pressure like abrasive cutting, crushing and sawing. That's when you need to beware. What is Crystalline Silica? When Crystalline Silica particles are inhaled, they make their way deep into your lungs which, in turn, begin to develop scar tissue nodules around the particles. Though it can take years for full symptoms to appear, Silica exposure has been directly linked to lung cancer, kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. One of the highest risks for workers repeatedly exposed to Silica is Silicosis, a non- reversible lung disease with symptoms that can range from shortness of breath and chest pains, to an eventual inability to breathe that could turn fatal. For people with a smoking habit or existing lung conditions such as asthma, exposure to Silica can seriously compound debilitating lung and breathing problems. How could it affect me? Beyond the cutting and crushing Keeping you safe from Crystalline Silica Magnification of Silica 3M Science. Applied to Life. is a trademark of 3M. Used under license in Canada. © 2016, 3M. All rights reserved.

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