Acute Silicosis


Silicosis is a lung disease. It is caused by breathing dust that contains crystalline silica. In acute silicosis, the disease occurs after weeks or months of exposure to very high levels of the silica. This is a serious condition. Contact your doctor immediately if you think you may have it.


Crystalline silica can be found in:
When these materials are cut, broken, crushed, drilled, ground, or blasted, silica dust may be produced. When silica dust gets into the air you breathe, it may become trapped in your lungs. The dust buildup damages your lungs. More dust will create more damage. This will make it hard for you to breathe.
Pathway to Lungs
Respiratory Pathway
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Risk Factors

Working in the following occupations increases your chance of acute silicosis:


Symptoms may appear within a few weeks to 2 years after exposure:


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You will also be asked about your work history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include the following:
Peak Flow Meter—Pulmonary Function Test
Lung test
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There is no specific treatment for silicosis. If you have acute silicosis, you will be advised to avoid additional exposure. Your doctor may also treat other conditions associated with acute silicosis. These may include blockage or airway narrowing. You will also be advised to stop smoking.


To help reduce your chance of silicosis:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Occupational Safety & Health Administration


Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

The Lung Association


Silicosis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: Updated May 2014. Accessed May 4, 2016.

Silicosis: Learn the facts! National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health website. Available at: Updated June 6, 2014. Accessed May 4, 2016. Interstitial lung disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 4, 2016. Accessed May 4, 2016.

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