We represent workers exposed to crystalline silica.

Silicosis kills more than a thousand people each year because employers and manufacturers fail to protect their workers from crystalline silica dust. As a leader in toxic exposure litigation, we have the in-depth experience and steadfast commitment to see every claim through until justice is done. Find out why Waters Kraus & Paul is the right firm for you. Find out why Waters Kraus & Paul is the right firm for you.

Silicosis

We represent workers exposed to toxic minerals and crystalline silica dust.

Silicosis is an incurable illness. It is a progressively disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. According to OSHA’s conservative estimates, more than a thousand people die each year from silicosis caused by crystalline silica dust exposure. More than two million American workers are exposed to silica annually. This increases their risk for respiratory problems and lung diseases like silicosis. Encounters with this common
mineral often occur during the fabrication of stone products containing crystalline silica, such as quartz and granite countertops.

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Silicosis is one of three primary respiratory diseases that falls under the pneumoconiosis umbrella. Pneumoconiosis is a general term for lung disorders caused by inhaling mineral dust. The other two primary disorders in this category are asbestosis and coal worker’s pneumoconiosis or black lung.

Silicosis is a chronic fibronodular lung disease that results in permanent lung damage. It goes by many names, including stonemason’s disease and grinder’s rot. Silicosis manifests after prolonged exposure to crystalline
silica. It is described as a progressive disease. This means that the disease gets worse as time goes by, especially if exposure to silica continues.

As workers inhale crystalline silica dust, microscopic particles embed themselves in the lungs. This causes inflammation. The lung tissue reacts by developing fibrotic nodules and scarring around the trapped silica
particles. The scarring reduces the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen, creating a sense of breathlessness.

There are three different types of silicosis that workers may develop. The concentration of airborne crystalline silica dust is a determining factor in the type of silicosis that manifests. Heavier concentration
levels result in more aggressive cases of lung disease or silicosis. Here are the three types of silicosis and criteria:

  • Chronic Silicosis – Develops 10 or more years after first exposure, low crystalline silica concentrations
  • Accelerated Silicosis – Develops 5 to 10 years after first exposure, high crystalline silica concentrations
  • Acute Silicosis – Develops within weeks up to 5 years after first exposure, highest crystalline silica concentrations

Symptoms of silicosis may appear soon after your first exposure to crystalline silica dust. Indications of disease can show up within a few weeks to a few years. Early stages of silicosis may go unnoticed and may not
be easily attributable to crystalline silica in the beginning. Symptoms typically worsen over time as scarring in the lungs increases.

Signs of the lung disease may look like bronchitis, starting as a cough and phlegm or shortness of breath with minimal exertion. Symptoms can progress to sharp chest pain, respiratory failure, or even death. You may hear crackling in your lungs or wheezing when breathing.

Excessive scarring in the lungs can lead to more severe symptoms. Watch for leg swelling, rapid breathing, and bluish skin discoloration around the earlobes and lips. People diagnosed with silicosis are also at increased risk for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and kidney disease.

Common silicosis symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Chest Pain
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Cyanosis (bluish skin)
  • Persistent or Severe Cough
  • Crackling in Lungs or Wheezing
  • Shortness of Breath or Breathlessness

According to OSHA, crystalline silica is contained in materials like sand, stone, concrete, and mortar. It is also found in manufactured products such as glass, pottery, ceramics, bricks, artificial stone, and stone countertops (quartz and granite). Working with these types of materials and products can produce fine respirable or breathable crystalline silica dust.

Certain activities will create a breathable cloud of dust. This includes cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling, and crushing materials like stone, rock, concrete, brick, block, and mortar. Workers performing these tasks are at heightened risk of exposure to crystalline silica dust. Those who endure extensive or prolonged exposure can develop silicosis. Activities that produce crystalline silica dust include:

  • Grinding Mortar
  • Sawing Brick, Concrete
  • Cutting, Crushing Stone
  • Abrasive Blasting with Sand
  • Sanding, Drilling into Concrete Walls
  • Manufacturing and Sweeping up after work with Brick, Concrete Blocks, Stone Countertops, Ceramic Products

While sand, stone, concrete, and mortar are common in masonry, they are also used in a variety of other industries and trades. One such industry is the manufacturing of stone countertops. With the popularity of quartz, granite, and especially artificial stone materials, workers are at significant risk of crystalline silica exposure in the fabrication shop and during in-home installation. Here is a list of jobs at risk for crystalline silica dust
exposure:

  • Painting
  • Plumbing
  • Demolition
  • Sandblasting
  • Construction
  • Stone Crushing
  • Mining, Tunneling
  • Railroad Construction
  • Masonry, Cement Work
  • Manufacturing Glass Product
  • Rock Drilling, Rock Quarry Work
  • Foundry Workers, Sand Mold Shakeout
  • Cutting, Manufacturing Heat-Resistant Bricks
  • Stone Countertop Fabrication, Finishing, and Installation

How Waters Kraus & Paul can help victims of Silicosis

Seek justice with the help of our experienced attorneys. Our law firm has represented individuals like you affected by toxic exposure on the job for over 20 years, aggressively fighting the corporate giants responsible
for their dangerous products. If you or a loved one were exposed to crystalline silica dust or suffer from a lung disease caused by crystalline silica like silicosis, we can help.

Silicosis Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Chest Pain
  • Leg Swelling
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Phlegm Production
  • Cyanosis (bluish skin)
  • Increased Rate of Breath
  • Persistent or Severe Cough
  • Fibroid Scarring of the Lungs
  • Crackling in Lungs or Wheezing
  • Crystalline Silica Fibers in Lungs
  • Shortness of Breath or Breathlessness

Risky Jobs for Crystalline Silica Dust Exposure

  • Painting
  • Plumbing
  • Demolition
  • Sandblasting
  • Construction
  • Stone Crushing
  • Mining, Tunneling
  • Railroad Construction
  • Masonry, Cement Work
  • Manufacturing Glass Product
  • Rock Drilling, Rock Quarry Work
  • Foundry Workers, Sand Mold Shakeout
  • Cutting, Manufacturing Heat-Resistant Bricks
  • Stone Countertop Fabrication, Finishing, and Installation

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