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Learn About Silicosis
Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work. Over time, exposure to silica particles causes scarring in the lungs, which can harm your ability to breathe.
There are three types of silicosis: acute, chronic, and accelerated.
It occurs in workers from mines, foundries, sandblasting, and glass manufacturing.
About 2 million US workers remain potentially exposed to occupational silica.
There is no cure for silicosis, but it can be prevented.
What Is Silicosis?
There are three types of silicosis:
Acute silicosis, which causes cough, weight loss, and fatigue within a few weeks or years of exposure to inhaled silica.
Chronic silicosis, which appears 10 to 30 years after exposure and can affect upper lungs and sometimes cause extensive scarring.
Accelerated silicosis, which occurs within 10 years of high-level exposure.
Silicosis can develop within a few weeks to even decades after exposure. When people breathe silica dust, they inhale tiny particles of the mineral silica. This silica dust can cause fluid buildup and scar tissue in the lungs that cuts down your ability to breathe. This can lead to lung scarring and cough, weight loss, and fatigue.