Very few people would choose to accept a position at a workplace if they knew that in accepting that position, they would be routinely exposed to a toxic substance and placed at an elevated risk of developing a chronic and potentially fatal health condition. But when it comes to toxic exposure in the workplace, skilled workers in several construction and industrial trades are in fact routinely exposed to just such a scenario.
Among the most prevalent hazards faced by these workers is exposure to silica dust. While minimal and short-term exposure to this substance does not necessarily cause a noticeable health impact, long-term exposure can result in diseases including asthma, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and several types of cancer. Unfortunately, the current standards for limiting exposure to silica dust have not been updated since the 1970s. And in many cases, employers aren’t even abiding by the out-of-date regulations.