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OSHA Proposes New Rule Aimed at Lowering Worker Exposure to Crystalline Silica

The American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) reminds workers and industry of the need to address exposure to respirable hazards.


Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a proposed rule aimed at curbing lung cancer, silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and kidney disease in America’s workforce. The new proposal aims to lower worker exposure to crystalline silica.
Crystalline silica is a component of soil, sand, granite and other minerals.  Quartz, cristobalite and tridymite are all forms of crystalline silica.  Each form may become respirable size particles when workers chip, cut, drill or grind objects that contain the material.
“Exposure to silica can be deadly, and limiting that exposure is essential,” said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. “Every year, exposed workers not only lose their ability to work, but also to breathe. This proposal is expected to prevent thousands of deaths from silicosis-an incurable and progressive disease-as well as lung cancer, other respiratory diseases and kidney disease. We’re looking forward to public comment on the proposal.”
Crystalline silica remains a potential health hazard for many U.S. workers, including those in high risk jobs such as abrasive blasting, foundry work, stonecutting, rock drilling, quarry work and tunneling. Exposure also occurs during many different construction activities and some manufacturing processes.
“ABIH supports the need to protect workers through proper air monitoring and exposure controls,” reported Tracy Parsons, CIH, Administrative Program Manager at ABIH. “Certified Industrial Hygienists are trained and experienced in air sampling, engineering controls, work environments and risk analysis to minimize potential health impacts. Organizations are encouraged to utilize CIHs in order to better quantify and manage their risks involving crystalline silica use.”
To learn more about the American Board of Industrial Hygiene or the CIH program, please email , visit or call (517) 321-2638.
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene
Since 1960, ABIH, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world’s largest, premier organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH is responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement.


 Crystalline Silica
 Industrial Hygiene

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