Silicosis is a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease that can afflict anyone who is overexposed to fine airborne particles of crystalline silica.
Crystalline silica is the second most common mineral in the earth's crust (a basic component of sand, quartz and granite rock). When you breathe in dust containing silica, scar tissue can form in your lungs and reduce your ability to extract oxygen from the air. There is no cure for silicosis -- prevention is the only answer. Breathing silica dust poses a potential health hazard to your respiratory system and may cause serious lung disease, cancer, or death.
Dust created by sawing, grinding, drilling, or crushing bricks or by the cleanup and disposal of brick dust and wastes contains silica. Acme recommends that you use wet sawing and NIOSH or other approved respiratory protection or dust control measures to reduce potential exposures to silica dust.
Information on appropriate respirators and other protective equipment and dust controls for silica dust can be found at www.osha.gov. Wet methods and equipment, such as wet saws, should be used to saw, grind, drill or crush bricks in order to reduce potential exposures to silica dust.
Additional health and safety information, including information on OSHA recommended exposure levels, is provided in the MSDS available on this website. (PDF file; requires free Acrobat reader).