Silicosis is caused by breathing airborne crystalline silica, which is created when sand, rock, concrete, masonry, sheet rock and other materials containing crystalline silica are turned into fine dust particles. Persons who have worked or are working in the following areas are at risk for silicosis: sandblasting, silica paint, drywall, building trades, construction, concrete and cement, welders, rust removal, railroad workers, abrasive manufacturing, rock and stone quarries, clay pottery, brick grinding and chipping, drilling, sawing, demolition and hammering of rock or concrete, refineries, building trades, maritime industry, shipbuilding, pipe cleaning or manufacturing, ceramics, glass manufacturing and foundries.
Symptoms of silicosis include any of the following: shortness of breath, lung disease, pulmonary problems, chronic or severe cough, chest pain, fatigue, fever, lack of appetite, cyanosis or blue skin, or tuberculosis.
Chronic silicosis occurs after a long-term exposure after ten or more years. Acute silicosis occurs after a short term, high exposure after a few weeks to five years. Accelerated silicosis occurs from high exposure after five to 10 years.
Paper masks are not adequate to protect workers from airborne crystal silica. Respirators and air-supplied hoods may also fail to prevent exposure. Company doctors may fail to diagnose or misdiagnose silicosis for the obvious reason. If you think you may have been exposed, get an x-ray and an independent medical screening immediately. We offer a FREE X-ray and medical screening to workers that have been exposed to crystalline silica, have serious symptoms and that we may be able to help.
Successful diagnosis depends on the patient's history of exposure and, in the early stages, a chest X-ray. If positive, the chest X-ray will show tiny radio opaque nodules. Later, after the disease has progressed, a persistent cough and/or breathlessness will be present. Typically, sound in the chest is detectable with a stethoscope. Lung function tests may be helpful, but usually not until the late stages.
In the early stages, symptoms are rarely present at all. The first noticeable sign is typically a dry, nonproductive cough, which will last throughout the morning. Moderate breathlessness will ensue, usually noticeable only upon physical exertion. As the lung tissue proceeds to break down, breathlessness will worsen until it is demonstrated even at rest. The time between exposure and the onset of symptoms varies from a few months in some susceptible individuals to, more usually, many years, depending on the concentration of free, floating silica and the exposure time at work. With continued massive destruction of lung tissue, blood circulation from the heart to the lungs may be slowed and result in heart failure.
What Can You Do?
No matter where you live, if you or someone you know has been exposed to a silicosis risk and you would like for us to provide a free evaluation of your potential claim please call us today at 713-223-1234. Or, if you prefer, email us and we will contact you right away about your possible silicosis claim.