Silica is a natural substance and is sometimes referred to as quartz. It is found in varying amounts in many materials that are commonly used in construction industries. It can be found in soil, sand, concrete, masonry, rock, granite, brick, cement, mortar, tiles and clay.
Inhalation of brick dust or crystalline silica can lead to many serious and sometimes fatal illnesses, particularly if breathed in for prolonged periods or in very high amounts for a short period. Some identified illnesses include silicosis, lung cancer, tuberculosis (in those with silicosis), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In addition to these, silica exposure has been linked to other illnesses including renal disease and other cancers.
Silicosis causes severe breathing problems like COPD and greatly increases the risk of lung infections. Silicosis usually follows exposure to RCS over many years, but extremely high exposures can cause acute silicosis much more quickly. There is no effective treatment for Silicosis.