Silica Program

Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite and many other minerals. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica. Materials composed of crystalline silica, include, but is not limited to, the following: concrete, asphalt, pre-formed structures (inlets, pipe, etc.). All materials containing silica can result in the presence of respirable silica particles when chipping, cutting, drilling or grinding takes place. Silica exposure occurs through inhalation of silica containing particles and occurs through many construction and general industry methods. The most severe exposures generally occur during abrasive blasting with sand to remove paint and rust from bridges, tanks, concrete structures and other surfaces. Other activities that may result in sever silica exposure include jack hammering, rock/well drilling, concrete mixing, concrete drilling, brick and concrete cutting/sawing, tuck pointing and tunneling operations. Exposure to excessive silica dust over long periods of time can result in silicosis. Contact EHS for evaluation, analysis, and control recommendations at (512) 471-3511.