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Silicosis is a non-communicable (non-infectious and non-transferable) respiratory disease mostly associated with work-related activities and although there is some reference to desert sand disease and living in some high-altitude locations such as the Himalayas where general populations are also exposed to harmful levels of silica/quartz dust.
Regardless of the name one thing that is for certain is that Silicosis is one of several diseases that can occur from exposure to the main hazard Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) dust and is marked by inflammation and scarring in the form of nodular lesions in the upper lobes of the lungs – this is classed as a type of pneumoconiosis (dust in the lungs) or restrictive lung disease.
Silica with the chemical formula SiO2 (Silicon Dioxide) is most commonly found in nature as quartz SiO4 and makes up to an estimated 75% of the earth’s crust and is the major component of sand.