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What is silicosis?

Being exposed to silica dust while working can put you at serious risk of developing the life-threatening and debilitating disease called "silicosis." Silicosis happens when the lung tissue is scarred and hardened by crystalline silica particles.

Those who have silicosis may suffer from permanent shortness of breath and they could find themselves at risk of developing serious lung conditions, even lung cancer. Sadly, no cure exists for silicosis. Those who develop it must learn to cope with the condition.

Examples of a Pennsylvania workplaces that could be contaminated with silica dust are facilities that cut sheetrock and stone tile. Mining operations and sandblasting facilities could also put workers at risk. Workers in these facilities who inhale too much silica could be at great risk of developing silicosis, in addition to complications such as bronchitis, tuberculosis, lung cancer and other serious health problems.

There are three categories of silicosis:

-- Accelerated silicosis: This can happen after the slow exposure to small amounts of silica over a period of 15 to 20 years.

-- Chronic Silicosis: This usually happens to workers employed in occupations in the mining and stonecutting industries. The condition typically develops after 7 to 10 years of exposure.

-- Acute silicosis: This can happen after a large amount of silica exposure in a short period of time.

Have you developed silicosis as a result of your occupation? You may be able to seek workers' compensation benefits to pay for your medical care. In some cases, you might be able to pursue other legal claims depending on the circumstances that lead to you contracting silicosis.

Source: FindLaw, "Silicosis and Silica," accessed May 26, 2017

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