Association between Crystalline Silica Dust Exposure and Silicosis Development in Artificial Stone Workers
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AuthorRequena Mullor, María del Mar; Alarcón Rodríguez, Raquel; Parrón Carreño, Tesifón; Martínez López, Jose Joaquín; Lozano Paniagua, David; Hernández Jérez, Antonio Francisco
Artificial stoneRespirable crystalline silicaSilicosisOccupational exposurePulmonary diseaseOccupational epidemiology
Requena-Mullor, M.; Alarcón-Rodríguez, R.; Parrón-Carreño, T.; Martínez-López, J.J.; Lozano-Paniagua, D.; Hernández, A.F. Association between Crystalline Silica Dust Exposure and Silicosis Development in Artificial Stone Workers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 5625. https:// doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18115625
Occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica (SiO2 ) is one of the most common and serious risks because of the health consequences for the workers involved. Silicosis is a progressive, irreversible, and incurable fibrotic lung disease caused by the inhalation of respirable crystalline silica dust. A cross-sectional epidemiological study was carried out to assess the occupational risk factors that may contribute to the onset of silicosis in workers carrying out work activities with the inhalation of silica compact dust. The study population consisted of 311 artificial stone workers from the province of Almeria (southeast of Spain). Among them, 64 were previously diagnosed with silicosis and the rest of the participants (n = 247 workers) were not diagnosed with such a disease. The workers showing a greater risk of developing silicosis were those who installed kitchen worktops at consumers’ homes, as they did not use face-masks or were not provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) by their business. The results of this study provide support for the evidence indicating that silicosis is a major emerging health concern for workers in the artificial stone sector. Exposure to crystalline silica dust thus can influence the development of silicosis in those cases where individual and collective protection measures are not used or adequately applied.