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Asbestosis versus Silicosis: Differences & Similarities

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Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by repeated exposure to toxic asbestos dust over a long period of time while silicosis is a respiratory disease caused by inhaling silica dust. Both diseases cannot be cured.

Asbestosis and Silicosis, have come to the forefront in the past decades as noncancerous diseases that can seriously damage the health of workers who are exposed to hazardous materials. Both asbestos and respirable crystalline silica are listed under the Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA’s) list of toxic and hazardous substances and their use is regulated by law in the U.S. to help minimize the occupational risk of exposure. The construction industry is a common area where asbestosis and silicosis are of concern, although many other settings are impacted. In this article, we explore the commonalities and differences between asbestosis and silicosis.

We can help you protect your workers from toxic asbestos or silica dust exposure through our asbestos testing and silica exposure monitoring services. We service clients in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and throughout the country. Contact us now!

Below is a table comparing asbestos and silicosis in terms of the causes of the disease, symptoms, people at risk, method of exposure, regulations, and others.

Asbestosis versus Silicosis

Asbestosis versus Silicosis

Asbestosis versus Silicosis

Asbestosis versus Silicosis

Asbestosis versus Silicosis

In either case, prevention is the best medicine when it comes to asbestosis and silicosis. Employers and building managers must take care to avoid exposing people to the toxic dust produced by disturbing materials containing asbestos or crystalline silica. A plan to prevent this must be created and followed. Assessing the levels and exposure over time of these two airborne particles must be done periodically and especially when activities are occurring that are likely to cause them to be released into the air.

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Are silica and asbestos the same thing?

No. Although silica and asbestos have a lot of similarities, they are different. Both are silicate minerals that cause lung diseases, but one of their biggest differences is how people are exposed. Asbestos can easily become airborne, unlike silica which is found in solid materials.

Can you get silicosis from asbestos?

No, silicosis is caused by inhaling silica dust. Asbestos is known for causing asbestosis and mesothelioma. Nonetheless, both asbestos and silica are dangerous to your health.

What is the difference between silicosis and mesothelioma?

Both diseases are incurable and irreversible, but they are caused by different silicate minerals. Silicosis is caused by exposure to crystalline silica while mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive type of lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

What is the difference between asbestosis and asbestos?

Asbestosis is a fibrotic lung disease and exposure to airborne asbestos fibers is what causes it along with other types of cancer like ovarian and laryngeal cancer.

Hiring a Professional to Assess & Monitor Asbestos/Silica Dust Exposure

It is important to have a properly qualified, experienced, and independent firm to help with planning for, assessing, and monitoring exposure.

RPF Environmental can help you ensure your workers are safer and can help you breathe easier when the inspectors drop by. We have been helping companies plan for their workers’ safety and providing air quality testing, including assessments to help measure the amount of fresh air in building spaces, since 1991. Our services include asbestos inspection and silica exposure monitoring

Contact RPF Environmental, Inc. today by filling out an online contact form, or by dialing 603-942-5432.

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