Silica is an abundant mineral found in materials including sand, stone, and concrete. While serving as a principal component of glass, cement, and ceramics, silica also presents an increasingly pertinent issue for those with interests in toxic torts, as well as businesses involved in the manufacturing or distribution of silica products: occupational exposure to airborne silica, a leading cause of silicosis and lung cancer.
Silicosis is a severe, incurable lung disease that is often fatal. Upon inhalation of fine particles created through workers’ manipulation of the material, small amounts of silica become trapped in the lungs, causing the scarring of lung tissue. Resulting effects are severe, often requiring lifelong care and a possible lung transplant.
Cases commonly appear among those working in construction or mining, and symptoms can present after only a few years of occupational exposure. More often than not, workers use little to no protective equipment, leaving them vulnerable to inhalation of the harmful substance. With the number of silicosis cases on the rise, the issue has been denoted an “emerging epidemic” constituting a “public health problem of great urgency.”
California has recently seen a large cluster of occupational-related silicosis cases, with its Department of Public Health identifying at least sixty-nine confirmed cases since 2019. And the primary victim? Fabricators and installers of artificial-stone countertops. Continue reading “Explosion of Silica Exposure-Related Lawsuits in California”