Several rocks such as granite and normal sand contain a substance called 'silica' in varying degrees, typically about 10 or 20%. This substance causes even more severe lung disease when inhaled as fine, man-made particles ('silicosis' in medical terms). These fine particles are typically found in the stone crushing process. Scar tissue forms deep in the lungs and makes the lungs less efficient and less strong. Over time, even AFTER work in stone crushing and the dust exposure has stopped, this destruction process in the lungs continues and the worker will eventually die from the damage.
Typical signs of lung damage by dust include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wheezing, constant coughing, reddish or bluish color of ears and/or the lips. This difficulty in breathing is often combined with fatigue, loss of appetite, weakness.
Stone dust cannot be avoided in stone crushing. It is produced by the crushing itself, the sorting, the transport of gravel and also by vehicle movements over dusty roads. We can however reduce the amount of dust that reaches the lungs. By engineering controls, the places where dust is generated can be encapsulated so the dust is not easily carried off by the wind. Only after engineering and other controls have been used in all areas, personal protective equipment such as appropriate masks... [continues]
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