California has beautiful beaches, and San Diego is home to many. People who work with sand need to know that there is a potential for serious injuries. It’s not just the possibility of burning yourself on it during a hot day, instead, there are serious respiratory conditions that can develop if you’re exposed to it too often and in the right conditions.
Silica is a mineral that is commonly found in the earth. It’s a major component of sand, clay and other materials used every day. Silica is found in glass, brick and concrete.
Is silica dangerous in sand itself?
Not really. Silica, a component of sand, is potentially hazardous if it’s breathed in. So, if there was an earthquake that broke up a silica deposit, then breathing that in could be potentially hazardous. Basically, the silica or sand particles must be small enough to be breathed in.
Where do injuries from crystalline silica most often take place?
You’ll notice that the oil and gas industry has the greatest number of workers suffering from exposure to silica. When hydraulic fracturing is used to stimulate well product, it can create a fine dust that includes silica. The companies use a combination of water and sand in a high-pressure pump to blast shale and other rock formations. This results in a pathway for the oil or gas, but it also results in the fine dust that is so dangerous to your lungs and body.
What happens if you breathe in silica?
Silica can cause silicosis, a lung disease in which the lungs react to the trapped silica particles by becoming inflamed and scarring. Silica has also been linked to diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.
The people at the highest risk of injury are those who breathe in these particles day after day. If you’re exposed, get a medical check-up as soon as possible. It could help prevent complications and injuries later.