Overview of Silica-Related Clusters in the United States: Will Fracking Operations Become the Next Cluster?


Silicosis is the oldest know occupational pulmonary disease. It is a progressive disease and any level of exposure to respirable crystalline silica particles or dust has the potential to develop into silicosis. Silicosis is caused by silica particles or dust entering the lungs and damaging healthy lung tissue. The damage restricts the ability to breathe. Exposure to silica increases a worker’s risk of developing cancer or tuberculosis. This special report will provide background history of silicosis in the U.S., including the number of workers affected and their common industries. Over the years, these industries have impeded government oversight, resulting in silicosis exposure clusters. The risk of acquiring silicosis is diminished when industry implements safety measures with oversight by governmental agencies. Reputable authorities believe that the current innovative drilling techniques such as fracking will generate future cases of silicosis in the U.S. if safety measures to protect workers are ignored.

Speaker / Author: 
M. Thomas Quail, MS, RN, LNC
Month Year: 
January 2017
Page #: 
Publication Month: 
January/February 2017