Private: Legal Issues

Silicosis Symptoms

Occupational exposure to crystalline silica results in more than 250 American worker deaths each year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Yet, the World Health Organization says the exact number is unknown. What is known about this oldest of occupational diseases is that approximately 1.7 million Americans are exposed to this condition, for which there is no cure.
Caused by inhaling silica dust, Silicosis progresses even when exposure stops. Unfortunately, the disease may go undetected for years in the early stages and no abnormality may be noticed until after 15 or 20 years of exposure.

Workers in Jeopardy

Silicosis primarily affects male workers, reflecting the occupations at risk. Examples of workers at greatest risk of developing silicosis include those involved with:

  • Construction
  • Stone cutting
  • Glass manufacturing
  • Mining or tunneling
  • Agriculture
  • Foundry work
  • Shipbuilding
  • Railroad – setting and laying track
  • Ceramics, clay and pottery
  • Manufacturing of soaps and detergents
  • Manufacturing and use of abrasives

Forms of Silicosis

Depending upon the type and extent of exposure to silica dusts, a Silicosis victim may have a moderate to severe type of the disease. Those various types include:

  • Chronic silicosis – occurring beyond ten years of overexposure
  • Accelerated silicosis – developed from more than five to ten years of exposure
  • Acute silicosis – generated from the highest exposures and can cause symptoms to develop in weeks to five years

Signs and Symptoms

Silicosis patients are more susceptible to infectious diseases of the lungs, so pinpointing symptoms early is important. Those include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Chronic cough
  • Weight loss
  • Possible fever
  • Bluish skin at the ear lobes or lips

Receiving a Diagnosis

According to the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, tests like a chest x-ray, pulmonary function test and purified protein derivative (PPD) skin test will be conducted to first rule out similar diseases.

With a diagnosis of Silicosis, you then need to seek legal expertise to determine if you have a simple worker’s compensation claim, a personal injury case or something much larger involving toxic tort litigation. Please contact us today to schedule you free initial case evaluation.

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