Lung Irritation Could Be Chronic Silicosis

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Photo of mesothelioma X-ray

If you work at a construction site, shortness of breath, respiratory irritation and fatigue can all be signs of a serious lung condition called chronic silicosis. Chronic silicosis is a disease that develops over time as a person breathes in microscopic bits of crystalline silica, a component in all sand and stone. Construction workers are at a high risk for the disease, especially if your duties include:

  • Sand blasting
  • Jackhammering
  • Mixing Concrete
  • Drilling or cutting concrete
  • Tuck pointing
  • Tunneling

When you breathe in, the small bits of crystalline silica create tiny cuts in your lungs. These make you more susceptible to respiratory diseases like tuberculosis. They also cause scar tissue to build up in your lungs, making it difficult for them to function correctly. This can cause shortness of breath and irritation of the nose, throat and lungs. If exposed for longer periods, side effects can include respiratory failure and death.

Employers can protect their workers from chronic silicosis with a few small steps:

  • Making sure work areas are properly ventilated
  • Wetting the stone before cutting
  • Requiring the use of N95 NIOSH certified respirators

The consequences of chronic silicosis can be dire, even fatal. If you believe you are suffering from this disease, please consult a doctor immediately.

Sponsored by Larrimer & Larrimer LLC of Columbus, OH

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