Hazard Alert: Worker Exposure to Crystalline Silica during Fabrication of Engineered Stone Countertops

About Silicosis

Silicosis is a respiratory disease caused by inhalation of silica dust that leads to inflammation and then scarring of the lung tissue.

There are three types of silicosis:

  1. Simple chronic silicosis
    Results from long-term exposure (> 20 years) to small amounts of silica dust, which results in the formation of nodules of chronic inflammation and scarring in the lungs and chest lymph nodes. This disease may resemble chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD).
  2. Accelerated silicosis
    Exposure to large amounts of silica over a short period of time (5-15 years) resulting in inflammation, scarring, and symptoms that progress faster than in simple silicosis.
  3. Acute silicosis
    Short-term exposure to very large amounts of silica that inflame the lungs causing them to fill with fluid; results in severe shortness of breath and low blood oxygen levels.

Through passive surveillance the Silicosis Surveillance Program maintains a database of information on cases of silicosis in the state of Texas. The cases are obtained from reporting by physicians, laboratories and other health care providers. Also, reviewing medical records at physician offices and hospitals may be performed. Texas law requires that designated professionals, primarily physicians and laboratorians, report cases of silicosis to the department of state health services. The reports are received by the Environmental & Injury Epidemiology and Toxicology Unit (EIET), which acts on the information received, based on a standard protocol. Since passive surveillance, does not actively seek out cases, since 1986 the EOEP has augmented the passive reporting of silicosis required by law by conducting quarterly reviews of death certificates to identify certificates with silicosis listed as a cause of death. In addition, the EOEP also visits doctors' offices and abstracts information from records of reported silicosis cases.

Silicosis Brochures

What Healthcare Providers Need to Know about Reporting Silicosis

  • Target: healthcare providers
  • Purpose: to promote the reporting of asbestosis

Información sobre la exposición a la sílice en el lugar de trabajo

  • Público objetivo: trabajadores
  • Propósito: promover el estar conciente sobre la exposición a la sílice

Facts about Silica Exposure in the Workplace

  • Target: workers
  • Purpose: to promote the awareness of asbestos exposure

Silicosis Rates

Texas Silicosis Rates 2004 - 2010

Frequently Asked Questions