Respirable Crystalline Silica

Respirable Crystalline Silica Testing Services


What is Respirable Crystalline Silica?

Crystalline silica is a natural mineral formed within the earth’s crust. It can be found in sand and stone, and is used in artificial products like concrete, ceramics, bricks, and glass. When these are manufactured, sawed, or drilled, Crystalline silica particles 100x smaller than sand become respirable, which is dangerous to exposed workers.

When respirable crystalline silica is inhaled, it leads to a higher risk of lung cancer, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and silicosis, an incurable and deadly lung disease.

OSHA Final Rule

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has combated this by issuing two new standards; one for General Industry and Maritime industries and another for the Construction industry. These standards were established as a way to help protect workers from exposure to respirable crystalline silica.

OSHA Key Provisions

  • The permissible exposure limit (PEL)  for crystalline silica has been limited to 50 µg/m³ over the course of an eight-hour shift.
  • The action level of airborne respirable crystalline silica has been determined as 25 µg/m³, averaged over an 8 hour shift.
  • Employers are required to control silica dust through engineering controls.
  • Employers must provide respiratory protection when the PEL will exceed 50µg/m3
  • Employees must be kept away from areas where crystalline silica exposure might be higher than the PEL.
  • Employers must provide medical exams to monitor highly exposed workers and offer information about their lung health.

*New regulatory limits go into effect June 17, 2024*

EHS Laboratories holds an accreditation through AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Program, LLC for the analysis of respirable crystalline silica by NIOSH 7602.

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