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Glossary: Silicosis

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Is Silicosis caused by brick dust?
Is Silicosis caused by brick dust?
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Silicosis is a life threatening disease caused by long-term exposure to silica, found in brick dust, clay and ash. Long-term exposure to silica can cause fibrosis of the lung tissue. This hardening and scarring of lung tissue results in the loss of lung function making it hard for suffers to walk short distances or up stairs as they can become short of breath.

Silicosis and long term exposure to silica may also cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is linked to lung cancer.  Sufferers are also at a higher risk of developing tuberculosis, kidney disease and arthritis.

Occupations most at risk of silicosis include:

  • Brick makers
  • Construction workers and builders
  • Potters
  • Mineral miners
  • Masons and stoneworkers
  • Foundry workers
  • Miners

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