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Exposure to Silica Dust in the Workplace and Your Health


Most people who develop silicosis do so due to the exposure that they have when they are in a work environment.

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Most people know that asbestos is a dangerous substance and a toxin that requires special precaution to when handled and disposed of. But, not many people know about silica dust exposure and the profound effect it can have on someone’s health.

If severe enough, silica dust can even lead to death. Prolonged exposure to silica can lead to health concerns in the future. This is true regardless of whether or not the symptoms aren’t always apparent up front.

Silicosis is a condition that becomes more severe over time, and it is the result of being exposed to silica dust. The symptoms of silicosis are difficulty breathing and coughing. Since the signs can be vague and not hidden at first, many who are exposed don’t think to protect their rights until they get really sick.

What are the First Signs of Silicosis?

Most people exposed to silica, in the beginning, think that they are suffering from a prolonged respiratory infection because the symptoms of it are very similar to a common cold or flu. The symptoms first experienced by someone who has silicosis are:

  • Sharp chest pains
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Fever

Over time, symptoms can begin to progress and lead to more severe conditions such as:

  • Bluish coloring of the lips
  • Leg swelling
  • Excessive lung scarring
  • An increase in breathing rate

Those who are diagnosed with silica do not always have a good prognosis for the future, and it often comes with life-altering changes both for the injured person and their family.

How Do You Get Silicosis?

Most people who develop silicosis do so due to the exposure that they have when they are in a work environment. Those who work in industries that use silica shroud should use safety precautions to limit exposure, but not all companies are compliant with safety regulations. Industries in which exposure is probable, include the following:

  • Construction
  • Masonry
  • Mining
  • Sand-blasting
  • Ceramics
  • Steelworkers
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Stonework

Workers Compensation for Silicosis

Silicosis illness is considered an invisible injury in Missouri law. Since it is something that someone develops over time and may not be traced back to a specific incident or accident, it might be more difficult for someone who is suffering to claim workers’ compensation.

The good news is that silicosis illness is considered a covered disease, meaning that it is possible for those with the diagnosis to get workers compensation. If you are having a hard time getting your workers’ compensation claim approved due to being exposed in the workplace to either silica or some other hazard, it is critical that you hire a St. Louis workers’ compensation lawyer to help.

Although getting invisible injury claims approved is harder, it is not impossible. There is no reason that you or your family should suffer without any help. To prove your exposure injury, contact a St. Louis workers’ compensation attorney today so that they can get you the compensation that you deserve.

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Updated: June 22, 2018
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