Crystalline Silica

  • Found in concrete, and other cementitious products, bricks and ceramic tile
  • Does not become aerosolized unless cut crushed or ground
  • Carcinogen and ALARA (ALARA is an acronym for As Low As Reasonably Achievable)

Request a hazmat survey to identify hazardous materials in your home or business.

Crystalline Silica

Crystalline Silica

Silica particulate is a hazardous substance and as such is regulated by WorkSafeBC. WorkSafeBC also outlines airborne exposure criteria, respirator requirements and mandatory worker testing requirements. As with all other designated substances, all personnel working around or with such materials must be made aware of their presence and be supplied with training in the potential health effects and means of preventing exposures.

Employers with workers who have any risk of exposure must have an exposure control plan (ECP) in place prior to allowing their workers on anyone in the vicinity of the work area to come into contact with this material. As with all other hazardous substances, all personnel working around or with such materials must be made aware of their presence and be supplied with training in the potential health effects and means of avoiding exposures.

Crystalline silica dust can cause damage to the lungs, sometimes-fatal disease called silicosis. The fine particles adhere to the lungs, causing thickening and scarring of the lung tissue. The scar tissue restricts the lungs’ ability to extract oxygen from the air restricting the alveoli. This damage is permanent, but symptoms of the disease may not appear for many years.

As with the removal of asbestos, employers have a duty to protect their workers from any silica dust exposure. Studies show that when common construction work tasks involving the sanding, drilling, chipping, grinding, cutting, sawing, sweeping, and blasting of concrete and concrete products are conducted without using dust controls, workers are exposed to airborne silica concentrations at levels far above the occupational exposure limits.

Regulations – Silica

  • Silica is carcinogenic and ALARA (ALARA is an acronym for As Low As Reasonably Achievable) – must have Emergency Control Plan (ECP)
  • Exposure underestimated in construction and demolition
  • Produced by cutting and grinding concrete, bricks and tile, sanding drywall compound and mixing cement, tileset etc.
  • Health effects are dose related (unlike some asbestos related illnesses)