Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in the earth's crust. Materials like sand, stone, concrete, and mortar contain crystalline silica. It is also used to make products such as glass, pottery, ceramics, bricks and artificial stone.
Respirable crystalline silica – very small particles at least 100 times smaller than ordinary sand you might find on beaches and playgrounds – is created when cutting, sawing, grinding, drilling and crushing stone, rock, concrete, brick, block and mortar.
About 2.3 million people in the U.S. are exposed to silica at work.
Workers who inhale these very small crystalline silica particles are at increased risk of developing serious silica-related diseases, including: silicosis, an incurable lung disease; lung cancer; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease.