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Redesigned NIOSH Web Page on Silica Offers Structured, Expanded Resource

NIOSH Update:

Contact: Fred Blosser (202) 401-3749
December 12, 2002

A redesigned topic page on silica on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH) web site offers a structured, expanded on-line resource for locating information on preventing work-related illnesses linked with occupational exposure to silica dust.

The redesigned topic page makes it easier and faster for users to find information about silica dust, primarily in its most hazardous form, respirable crystalline silica. It includes a new, brief summary about the prevalence of occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica, and the health effects associated with exposure. It also expands the number and variety of links to better reflect the wide range of information available from NIOSH and other authoritative sources.

The page can be found at

The links on the redesigned topic page are designed to guide users directly to the type of information they seek. Initially, the user can view annotated links to the most recent NIOSH sources of information on silica, or select links to a more complete listing of NIOSH resources on silica, or to resources on silica from other agencies and organizations.

By clicking on either of the two latter general categories, users will find further, organized links to specific documents and web locations. For example, when users click on the link to NIOSH resources, they will find further links to NIOSH recommendations for preventing silicosis; to industry-specific NIOSH documents for abrasive blasting, construction, mining, and other industries; to NIOSH’s web topic page on respirators; and to other types of technical and educational publications and documents from NIOSH.

The redesigned page will be refined and updated over time to reflect ongoing research, recommendations, and user needs. NIOSH encourages viewers to suggest additional links for inclusion, by using the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of each page.

At least 1.7 million U.S. workers are exposed to silica dust in a variety of industries and occupations. Silicosis, an irreversible but preventable disease, is the illness most closely associated with occupational exposure. Some studies also have linked exposure with risks for lung cancer and some auto-immune diseases.

Documents to which the page links include:

  • Health Effects of Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica (April 2002). This recent NIOSH hazard review comprehensively examines the health risks associated with occupational exposures, discusses findings from recent epidemiological studies, and suggests areas for further research to help answer ongoing questions about the hazards of exposure.
  • NIOSH Alerts for preventing silicosis and deaths among workers at risk of exposure to silica dust from abrasive blasting, construction, and rock drilling.
  • Reports from a NIOSH-funded evaluation of potential substitute materials for silica sand in abrasive blasting.
  • Information about the NIOSH “B reader” program, which many federal and state agencies rely on by law to identify physicians who are certified to interpret workers’ chest X-rays for evidence of silicosis and other job-related respiratory diseases.
  • Various editions of NIOSH’s Work-Related Lung Disease Surveillance Report, which include national and state data on silicosis and on exposures to silica.

For further information about NIOSH research and recommendations for preventing job-related illnesses, injuries, and deaths, call toll-free 1-800-35-NIOSH (1-800-356-4674) or visit the NIOSH web page .