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Exposure to silica

Silica or silicon dioxide is common in nature. It is a principal component of our earth’s crust, for example. One of the forms that silica can take is quartz. Quartz can be found in various building materials, which means that exposure to silica is relatively high in the construction industry in particular.

Silica and your health

There are a number of health effects associated with exposure to silica.

Exposure to silica increases the risk of lung cancer

Exposure to silica, such as quartz, can have a damaging effect on your airways. In the long term, high levels of exposure can lead to pneumoconiosis. In this case dust particles cause connective tissues to form, which means the lungs are able to absorb less oxygen. Pneumoconiosis increases the risk of other lung diseases, such as lung cancer.

Exposure to silica increases the risk of rheumatism

Exposure to silica and organic solvents seems to increase the risk of rheumatism slightly. People may be exposed to these substances through their work, e.g. sandblasters, upholsterers, hairdressers and concrete workers.

iGene Passport

iGene offers you an insight into your personal risks of developing conditions and tells you whether avoiding exposure to silica may be particularly important for you to help prevent certain conditions. In addition, an iGene Passport provides you with information on what else you can do to reduce any risks. Here we focus on behaviour that will help you maximise the benefits to your health. In the publication below you can read more about what iGene can do for you.