Deadly Dust!Published 28/12, 2016 at 15:57
What is Silica and how does it affect us? The US company Gelmaxx explains the facts as from mid 2017 US regulations concerning silica will become much more strict and similar to regulations in Sweden and Germany. Crystalline silica, also referred to as silica dust, is a toxin that is produced when cutting or grinding concrete, brick, stone, as well as other raw stone based products.
Silicosis is deadly and incurable
The main issue is that this dangerous dust is inhaled and may cause the deadly and incurable disease silicosis. For years professionals working in many different trades within the construction industry have succumbed to silicosis. The most important thing to remember is that silicosis is preventable. Every day thousands of people are exposed to silica dust. OSHA estimates that more than 2.3M workers in the US States alone are exposed to silica dust and 90% of exposed individuals work in the construction industry.
The different stages of Silicosis
Silicosis is broken down into three stages, which are chronic or classic silicosis, accelerated silicosis, and acute silicosis. Chronic or classic silicosis is the most common and occurs after 15 to 20 years of exposure to low or moderate amounts of crystalline silica. A chest X-Ray is required to determine if lung damage has occurred. Symptoms associated with chronic or classic silicosis are shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and possible repertory failure. Accelerated silicosis occurs after 5 to 10 years of exposure to high amounts of crystalline silica. The symptoms are severe shortness of breath, weight loss, and weakness.
Acute silicosis occurs after as little as a few months of exposure to extremely high amounts of crystalline silica. The symptoms include severe shortness of breath, which can be disabling, weakness, weight loss, and even death.
“Wet cutting is less harmful to the machine operator and public health”
The cold facts
It has been known for years that silicosis is a real issue, and that people can and have died from it. So why haven’t there been changes to the regulations, and why haven’t employers attempted to protect their employees from the silica dust? There have been two ways to protect employees from silica dust. There is the standard hose and vacuum style of preventing inhalation and the wet cutting. Wet cutting utilizes water when cutting or grinding products that contain silica. The water encapsulates the crystalline silica particles and is safer due to the lowered risk of inhalation.
Concrete slurry is better then dust
Wet cutting produces slurry and many contractors do not like it because they claim it is messy to dispose. But wet cutting can potentially save lives from silicosis. For years construction professionals have struggled with properly disposing slurry waste water without harming the environment.
“Water cools the tooling and allows the tools to last longer”
Recent OSHA regulations
In recent months OSHA has increased regulations regarding Silica dust and preventing silicosis. The recent regulation change must be followed in the construction industry by mid-2017. The follow link gives information on the entire regulation change. https://www.osha.gov/silica/
Gelmaxx has the solution
For years Gelmaxx slurry solutions has been campaigning to prevent silicosis. Gelmaxx slurry products were designed to help contractors during all parts of the cleanup phase. The unique formula uses organic materials making it safe for the environment and operators, while maintaining EPA compliance. Gelmaxx Aquamaxx separator reduces the amount of concrete slurry while producing reusable water for site machinery. Gelmaxx Eco-Quickgel solidifier absorbs concrete slurry into a dry material that can be disposed of immediately in any standard trash container. Gelmaxx message is clear: Silicosis is preventable and together the industry can save lives. The next step is to take action, together and stop silicosis forever.