Does Silica Pose a Risk of Lung Cancer?

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A new study published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians a researcher concluded that there are new developments in understanding the effects of silica and they call for action to reduce illnessand death from silica exposure at work including stronger regulations, heightened awareness and prevention and increased attention to early detection of silicosos and lung cancer using low dose CT scanning.

Some developments include publication of studies providing detailed exposure response data, enabling regulations based upon quantitative risk assessment and also studies that show those exposed to silica who do not have silicosis and who do not smoke still have increased rates of death from lung mortality.In additional low dose computer tomography scanning has proven to be an effective screening method for lung cancer and the author recommends this screening be offered to those exposed beginning at age 50 if they also have a 20 pack years of smoking.

The report says the low level silica exposure on beaches and in ambient air in general, does not seem to cause health effects. Rather it is the concentrated exposure occurring on the job, most often construction materials such as concrete, masonry. tile and rock.

The most effective methods for controlling occupational exposure is banning sandblasting, metal grinds for abrasive blasting, modifying procedures and equipment, and controlling dust transmission by using enclosures, air curtains, water spray, and ventilation techniques, and the use of personal protective equipment., .

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