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Can severe silicosis develop from one heavy exposure?

I work at Home Depot and was tasked to clean up a mess of cement bags and dust that was spilled off a forklift. I stupidly enough used a leaf blower to move it all to a corner and sweep it up. In doing so alot of it went into the air. I did this for about only an hour or two at most. At the time, I didn't notice any uncomfortability. But thinking about it now, I realize that I could have made a grave mistake. I was wearing cloth masks however, if that helps my case.

I'd like to know the science and facts behind how much damage one heavy exposure can do.


I concur, my supervisors did not educate me enough in basic PPE and procedural training in handling Cement Dust. Aswell as providing me with inefficient/dangerous tools in doing so. I was not even given an N95 mask or any mask rated efficient enough to filter out contaminants. I'm going to take this up to my manager and higher ups and see to it that this doesn't happen again. Thank you, any further insight as to my exposure's condition would be heavily appreciated. <3

2 Answers

  • 2 months ago
    Favourite answer

    You didn't inhale enough solids or lime to really do anything, the paper masks were enough to keep particulates out of your system; also your nose, throat, and even your lungs do a great job of protecting you. Silicosis is from longer-term or chronic exposure like from rock drilling, sandblasting, or concrete dust without using proper PPE. I've done all 3 of those jobs at certain points, but always used appropriate measures to mitigate risks. Silicosis is similar to "black lung" in that it impairs breathing but the mechanism for destroying tissue is different. At least you learned a lesson on what not to do, and you should probably codify that with supervisory people and other workers. Other things to consider in certain situations: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and many other products can literally explode in a dusty environment with a flame or spark. 

    I've been around harsh organic solvents, Isocyanate paints, explosives and did chem warfare training for my Air Guard unit through the years and there are specific PPE for most of those exposure risks, and your supervisors should have been involved in a continuing education program to ensure they and all associates are trained for risks. If you had a major leak of MEK, Xylene, or other solvents in the paint/chem area someone SHOULD know how to deal with it properly. 

  • 2 months ago

    Concrete lungs do not exchange oxygen at all.  Cement needs a spit of water & then dries solid. The lungs R drenching wet./// A grave mistake is marking the headstone with the wrong name like "Itchy" the cat.//Your ashes R in the garden. 

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