What is Silica and quartz?

Silica is one of the most common compounds on earth. Silica is composed of two elements: silicon and oxygen (silicon dioxide, SiO2).

Plutus Quartz surfaces are made of minerals that include crystalline silica, such as silica sand and quartz.

Crystalline Silica is one of the most common compounds on earth and can be found in nature in various forms, mainly as sand, and also as rocks and stones such as marble, granite, quartz and cristobalite.

Crystalline Silica is a component of many manufactured products in daily use, such as glass, pottery and quartz surfaces.

Silica is very commonly used in construction and at various concentrations in bricks, blocks, tiles, slabs, cement and concrete.

What industries work with silica and are exposed to Silica dust?

It is important to point out that silica dust is found in many products in our day-to-day lives such as glass, ceramics, semi-conductors and much more.

Working with crystalline silica (quartz) is found in numerous industries including:

  • Underground mining, tunnelling and excavation work
  • Extraction and cutting of quartzite, gneiss, granite, sandstone and slate
  • Foundries
  • Glass manufacturing plants
  • Brick making
  • Manufacture of glass, pottery, porcelain, bricks, ceramic tiles, pavers
  • Underground mining, tunnelling and excavation work
  • Road building
  • Building construction
  • Demolition work where potential sites of silica exist e.g. breaking up concrete
  • Explosive blasting work

In lung tissue, causing inflammation and scarring, reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. Safety measures such as wet cutting and the use of effective respiratory protection measures reduce the risks associated with inhaled dust and can prevent the disease. The finished Caesarstone product poses no health hazard.

As a result, unprotected and uncontrolled occupational exposure and inhalation of respirable crystalline silica particles without the protective health and safety measures required by law, is dangerous to health and may cause severe illnesses such as silicosis, which is characterized by fibrosis of the lungs. Silicosis is a chronic, incurable, progressive disease, which may cause severe physical disabilities and may be fatal. According to the US OSHA alert of February 2015, exposure to airborne crystalline silica increases the risk for lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and kidney disease, and according to certain medical schools of thought, also increases the risk for some auto-immune diseases (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis). Pre-existing physical disorders may also aggravate the adverse effects of exposure to silica dust.