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Respirable Crystalline Silica


Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) refers to particles sufficiently small to stay air-born long enough to be inhaled and go deep into the lungs where they become lodged. Extended exposures to lower concentrations or less frequent exposures to higher concentrations can cause silicosis.

The World Health Organization page at http://www.who.int/occupational_health/publications/en/oehairbornedust3.pdf says that "particles with aerodynamic diameter >50 microns do not usually remain airborne very long: they have a terminal velocity >7cm/sec. However, depending on the conditions, particles even >100 mm may become (but hardly remain) airborne. Furthermore, dust particles are frequently found with dimensions considerably <1 micron and, for these, settling due to gravity is negligible for all practical purposes."

The European Industrial Minerals Association has a website dedicated to RCS. Among others, he page
http://www.crystallinesilica.eu/content/what-respirable-crystalline-silica-rcs defines Respirable Crystalline Silica is?

Many companies produce equipment to measure dust concentrations. For example
http://www.galsonlabs.ca/resourcecenter/bulletin.php?c=20 describes measuring dust samples. It says respirable dust particles are under 10 microns in diameter, thoracic dust particles are under 25 microns, and inhalable dust particles are under 100 microns.

N95 Particulate Respirator mask

N95 Particulate Respirator mask

This designation is an international standard for a general purpose respirator to filter out respirable quartz particles (which cause silicosis). Use one of these when working in a area where ventilation is insufficient to remove all of the dust. Use it also in circumstances where there is temporary generation of large quantities of dust. Do not wear this as a substitute for keeping floors and working areas clean.

Out Bound Links

In Bound Links

  • (Articles) Being Realistic About Toxicity and Safety in Ceramics

    The materials you use present two hazards you need to think about: Are they poisoning you while working with them? Are they destabilizing your glazes so they dissolve into food and drink?

  • (Glossary) GHS Safety Data Sheets

    The UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) addresses the real danger for human health and the environment in the production, handling, transport and use of the great variety of chemicals in available on earth today. The system has undergone a number of revis...


By Tony Hansen




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