Silica exposure remains a serious threat to nearly 2 million workers in the United States. This includes more than 100,000 workers in high-risk jobs such as those working in construction or with construction materials. Specifically, sandblasting practices release silica in ways that are unnatural. As a result, construction workers risk developing silicosis or “sandblasting disease” from inhaling silica particles in the dust. If you have been exposed to silica dust during the course of your job and have developed silicosis, mesothelioma, asbestosis, or any other type of cancer, immediately seek the help of a Texas silica exposure lawyer at The Carlson Law Firm. We will help you get the recovery you deserve in your silica exposure lawsuit.
With decades of experience handling all types of personal injury cases, we can help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries. We provide skilled legal representation on behalf of those who have suffered injuries or disease as a result of workplace injuries. Contact our firm today for a free consultation with a Texas silica exposure lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm. We can navigate the complex American legal system to help you get a favorable recovery in your silica exposure lawsuit.
If you have developed serious medical conditions caused by exposure to silica, our law firm offers attorneys with extensive experience handling the complex causation issues involved in toxic tort cases combined with substantial litigation resources, decades of experience, proven results, and a network of renowned experts.
What is Silica?
Crystalline silica is a mineral that is a large part of the makeup of sand and rocks; including sandstone and granite. It is classified as a human lung carcinogen and is the known cause of silicosis, a fatal lung disease. Silica exposure is apparent in the manufacture of a number of different everyday products including clay bricks, concrete, and tiles. During the production stages, fine particles of silica dust escape into the air. As a result, employees in the area inhale the carcinogen where extensive scarring progresses over time.
Other industries with high silica exposure include:
- Various forms of mining, such as coal and hard rock mining
- Construction work
- Tunnel working
- Glass manufacturing
- Ceramics work
- Steel industry work
- Stone cutting
Because of its abundance in nature, the use of silica has been around since ancient times. As a result of its prevalence, countless people have been exposed to the hazardous silica dust. This is the result of millions of workers inhaling unknown amounts of silica in construction, mining, and other industrial activities. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), breathing in silica dust can lead to a debilitating, irreversible, and a potentially fatal respiratory disease called silicosis, as well as a number of other health conditions and cancers.
What is Silicosis?
Also known by older names including rock tuberculosis, potter’s rot, grinder’s rot, dust consumption, and stonemason’s disease, silicosis belongs to a group of lung disorders called pneumoconiosis. The formation of fibrous scar tissue and nodules in the lungs characterize these illnesses.
The effects of silicosis were first documents in 1700 by Dr. Bernardino Ramazzini when he recognized common symptoms in stone cutters. Over 200 years later, Dr. Alice Hamilton saw the same connections between silicosis and the dust being inhaled by granite cutters. Hamilton’s research and the engineering demands that would soon follow set in motion growing awareness of the dangers of silica exposure across the globe.
Today, OSHA strictly enforces regulations that limit and protect workers from silica dust exposure. More than 250 Americans die from this incurable disease every year.
What are the Symptoms of Silicosis?
Silicosis symptoms can appear from a few weeks to many years after silica exposure. As scarring on the lung occurs, symptoms become pronounced. One of the earliest symptoms you may experience is a cough which develops over time with exposure to silica. There are three types of silicosis with varying degrees of symptoms:
- Simple/Chronic Silicosis. Appears in 10 to 30 years after exposure and affects the upper lungs and sometimes causes extensive scarring. This disease is marked by breathlessness and may resemble chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic silicosis can be either simple silicosis or complicated silicosis. This distinction is made through a chest radiographic appearance. Simple silicosis may be asymptomatic or may present with difficulty breathing. It is often difficult to differentiate between simple silicosis symptoms from chronic bronchitis and emphysema. On the other hand, complicated silicosis presents as difficulty breathing and a productive cough. In addition, symptoms may include malaise and weight loss.
- Accelerated Silicosis. The form of silicosis occurs after exposure to a large amount of silica in a short amount of time, typically in 5-10 years. Symptoms such as inflammation and scarring progress much faster than in simple/chronic silicosis.
- Acute Silicosis. Typically occurs within 10 years of high-level exposure. Acute silicosis occurs when exposure occurs in a very short time and to very large amounts of silica acute silicosis may develop. Generally, this follows massive exposure to dust in unregulated environments. In this form, the lungs become very inflamed and may fill with fluid. Suffers will experience severe shortness of breath and low blood oxygen levels. They will also have a cough, fever and severe weight loss.
How Does Silicosis Develop?
While the precise mechanism that triggers silicosis is unclear, what is known is that particles of silica dust get trapped in tiny sacs in the lungs where air exchange takes place. In essence, silica affects the lungs by damaging the lining of the lung air sacs. Once this begins, it leads to scarring, and in some situations to a condition called progressive massive fibrosis. This condition happens when there are severe scarring and stiffening of the lung which makes it difficult to breathe. As noted above, each type of silicosis affects the body somewhat differently.
When diagnosing your illness, your healthcare provider may describe hearing crackling or wheezing when they listen to your lungs. Having silicosis increases the risk of other problems such as tuberculosis, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Over time, lung capacity will decrease. Because of this, people living with the condition eventually need support with oxygen and other devices to assist in breathing.
If you have developed silicosis, contact a Carlson Law Firm Texas silica exposure lawyer. We can help you navigate the complexities of a silica exposure lawsuit.
How Much Silica Exposure is Harmful?
It takes a very small amount of very fine respirable silica dust to create a health hazard. OSHA regulations require construction employers to keep worker exposures at or below a permissible exposure level of 5 micrograms per cubic meter. This number is the maximum amount of silica exposure an employee can endure in an 8-hour workday. However, the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist has a lower non-regulatory threshold limit value of 25 micrograms per cubic meter.
Exposure to dangerous silica dust has been associated with the following:
- COPD and other breathing problems
- Lung disease and lung cancer
- Chronic airway obstruction
- Chronic bronchitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
If you are living with silicosis, contact The Carlson Law Firm. We have a Texas silica exposure lawyer to help with your silica exposure lawsuit.
Why is Silicosis often Misdiagnosed or Unrecognized?
Misdiagnosis occurs in part because many physicians learn that occupational diseases are uncommon. Additionally, physicians are unaware of a patient’s work history. Accordingly, doctors tend to put them at the bottom of the list of illness possibilities. In addition, there is a long-held belief that because of advances in technology, silicosis is no longer an issue for workers. This often makes it difficult to recognize and address the continuing problem of workplace silica exposure.
Because the tiniest bit of exposure can lead to silicosis, it is important for proper identification of the condition. A proper diagnosis is key to determining how to prevent silicosis in the workplace. Over the years, OSHA has had a difficult time collecting proper data on silicosis. This often leads to issues within the agency of how best to address silicosis. Further, misdiagnosis means patients go without proper treatment and medical advice. Finally, a proper diagnosis
It is important that you make your doctor aware of your work history and the unique exposure to silica.
If you received a silicosis diagnosis contact a Carlson Law Firm Texas silica exposure lawyer. Our firm has the experience needed to get you a favorable recovery in your silica exposure lawsuit.
How is Silica Exposure Prevented?
Although silica looks like just a little dust, it’s extremely harmful to your lungs. Because it is a carcinogen, and breathing it in causes the formation of scar tissue on the lungs, the best way to treat silicosis is to prevent exposure. Controlling exposures to occupational hazards is a fundamental method to protect workers from silica. If you
OSHA’s Chemical Exposure Effective Measures
What Silica Safety Precautions Should a Workplace Take?
- Use available work safety practices, such as water sprays, ventilation systems and blasting cabinets to control dust exposure.
- Check the material label for silica. If silica is listed refer to the product’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for more information.
- Always wear the proper personal protective equipment. When respiratory protection is required, wear only an N100 NIOSH-certified respirator, or a Type CE abrasive-blast supplied-air respirator for abrasive blasting.
- Make sure you are properly trained in the use and maintenance of your respirator. Contact the designated person on sit if you need assistance or have any questions about how to properly maintain your respirator.
- Do not make any unauthorized changes to your respirator. Further, you should always inspect your respirator before use. Alert your supervisor and replace your respirator if you find a crack, puncture, tear, leak or any other condition that could compromise your health and safety.
- The best practice is to shave your facial hair when you will work in environments that require a respirator. Even a tight-fitting respirator will not seal properly if you have a beard or mustache.
- Wear disposable or washable clothing and shower immediately if facilities are available. Vacuum the dust from your clothes or change into clean clothing before leaving the worksite.
- Be aware of the health hazards related to crystalline silica exposure. habits like smoking can add to lung damage caused by silica.
- Stay educated on the health hazards related to crystalline silica exposure. Habits like smoking can add to lung damage caused by silica.
- Don’t eat, drink, smoke or apply makeup in areas where silica dust is present. It’s best to wash your hands and face outside of dusty areas before performing any of these activities.
Why Do I need A Texas Silica Exposure Lawyer?
Silica exposure-related disease litigation is expensive and complicated. The Carlson Law Firm is a contingency-fee based personal injury law firm, who will fight to ensure you receive a proper recovery.
Railroad workers, masonry workers, sandblasters, construction workers and oil industry workers are among the groups of workers most affected by silica exposure. However, toxic exposure occurs in a wide range of industrial settings. An experienced Texas silica exposure lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm is the representation you need. We handle cases all over the United States.
Seek Maximum Compensation with the Help of The Carlson Law Firm in your Silica Exposure Lawsuit
Silicosis is 100% preventable when workers have the proper equipment such as functioning respirators. Those who fail to supply their employees with adequate protective gear can and should be held responsible for the resulting damage. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, COPD, or another respiratory illness after exposure to silica dust, and are experiencing symptoms including shortness of breath, chronic dry cough, fever, loss of weight and appetite, and severe difficulty breathing, you should seek the help of an attorney right away. A Texas silica exposure lawyer can help you pursue just compensation in your silica exposure lawsuit.
You may be eligible to pursue compensation via a Silica Exposure Lawsuit for the costs of your medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Family members who have lost a loved one due to silica dust-related diseases may also have the option to file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for loss of companionship and support, funeral and burial costs, and more.
To learn more about filing a silica exposure lawsuit contact The Carlson Law Firm today. An experienced Texas silica exposure lawyer can answer all of your questions during your free case evaluation. Hablamos tu idioma.