Silicosis is a lung disease that occurs when you breathe in tiny bits of silica, a common mineral found in sand, quartz and other types of rock. Those who are exposed to silica dust over a long period of time can develop inflammation and scarring in the lung. This condition is a type of pulmonary fibrosis known as “Silicosis” that can severely impact the ability of your lungs to take in and transfer oxygen.
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How Do You Get Silicosis?
Silicosis is typically an occupational disease meaning that most of the cases involve people who are repeatedly exposed to silica dust on their job over long periods of time. Some jobs that are known to expose workers to high levels of silica dust include:
- Stone workers and sanders. Workers who sand, polish, drill or work with stone or composite materials are at extremely high risk. Many of the new composite counter tops used in home construction are made of quartz which has a very high silica content. When you sand or grind these composites you are being exposed to silica dust.
- Sand blasting uses silica sand under high pressure creating a cloud of fine silica dust
- Crushing, loading and hauling of stone or rock that contains a high percentage of quartz
- Demolition of concrete or masonry
- Glass manufacturing
- Ship builders and railroad workers
- Foundry workers
- Grinders and Polishers
What Are the Symptoms of Silicosis?
Symptoms of silicosis may not show up until years after you have been exposed. The symptoms at first may appear mild and include a cough and excess sputum production. As the scarring worsens and lung tissue becomes more damaged the symptoms will progress to a chronic cough, shortness of breath and chest pain. If your lung function becomes severely compromised the lack of oxygen in your body can lead to fatigue, weakness, leg swelling, bluish lips, night sweats and fever. Silicosis can also affect your immune system leaving you more vulnerable to tuberculosis, lung cancer and COPD.
What Should I Do?
If you have been diagnosed with Silicosis or suspect you might have this disease, call our office immediately to speak to an attorney with experience in handling these claims. Silicosis exposure can be complicated involving Worker’s Compensation laws as well as potential exposure from manufacturers and distributors of silica products. Call us so we can help you.
Gonzalo Fernandez completely took care of my case. He was thorough about the details and knew exactly what to do in the situation. I am very grateful for his help, and I would strongly recommend him as an attorney.