PIP Guest Blog: What is respirable crystalline silica?
Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in many naturally occurring and man-made materials used at construction sites. Materials like sand, concrete, brick, block, stone and mortar contain crystalline silica. * Respirable crystalline silica are very small particles typically at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand found on beaches or playgrounds. Crystalline silica is generated by high-energy operations like cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, block and mortar, or when abrasive blasting with sand. Inhaling crystalline silica particles has been shown to create an increased risk of developing serious illnesses or diseases such as lung cancer, silicosis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. ** Each exposure to silica adds to the lung damage.
Who is at risk?
OSHA estimates around 2.3 million workers are exposed to crystalline silica on the job. Simply being near sand or other silica-containing materials is not hazardous. The hazard exists when specific activities create respirable dust that is released into the air.
How can PIP help?
PIP carries a full range of disposable respirators now with NEW Safety Works® N95 Disposable Respirators, available in bulk and retail packaging formats. In addition, PIP product line for Safety Works® respiratory protection now offers N100 and P100 Particulate Disposable Respirators. Please visit our website www.pipusa.com/respiratory to learn more about all the product solutions launched by PIP to help you filter out the risk. The product guide and educational material available on the PIP website assists you in evaluating your need depending on the type of work and environment.
PIP also introduced NEW half and full-face piece air purifying respirators this year, along with multiple filters and cartridges, all under the Safety Works recognized brand name. With over 10 years of proven work experience in providing quality safety products to the industry, workers can be confident using these NIOSH approved products. Before you choose a Safety Works® respirator, you must determine three things:
- The type of contaminant(s) for which the respirator is being selected.
- The concentration level of contaminant(s).
- Whether the respirator can be properly fitted on the wearer’s face. All respirator instructions, warnings and use and time limitations must also be read and understood by the wearer before use. Before the use of these respirators, a written respiratory protection program must be implemented, meeting all the requirements of OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134, including training and fit testing.
Call your PIP sales representative or head to our website to learn more: www.pipusa.com/respiratory.
* Amorphous silica, such as silica gel, is not crystalline silica.
** For more information please refer to 29 CFR 1926.1153, Appendix B (Medical Surveillance Guidelines) and the Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica Final Rule, 81 Fed. Reg. 16286 (Mar. 25, 2016)