Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Increased attention needed for cancer risk from silica

Date:
December 10, 2013
Source:
American Cancer Society
Summary:
A new review highlights new developments in understanding the health effects of silica, and calls for action to reduce illness and death from silica exposure at work.

A new review highlights new developments in understanding the health effects of silica, and calls for action to reduce illness and death from silica exposure at work, including stronger regulations, heightened awareness and prevention, and increased attention to early detection of silicosis and lung cancer using low dose CT scanning.

For centuries, silica has been known to cause lung disease (silicosis). Evidence that silica causes lung cancer has been more recent, accumulating over the last several decades. Writing in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, Kyle Steenland, PhD, at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, and Elizabeth Ward, PhD, of the American Cancer Society highlight three important developments that hold potential to prevent illness and death from silica exposure at work.

The first development is the publication of recent studies providing detailed exposure-response data, enabling regulations based on quantitative risk assessment. New studies have also shown that silica-exposed workers who do not have silicosis and who do not smoke still have increased rates of death from lung mortality.

Second, a new rule lowering the permissible occupational exposure for the estimated 2.2 million US workers currently exposed to silica is currently under consideration. Risk assessments estimate that lowering occupational exposure limits from the current to the proposed standard will reduce silicosis and lung cancer mortality to approximately one-half of the rates predicted under the current standard.

Third, low-dose computed tomography scanning has now been proven to be an effective screening method for lung cancer. The authors recommend that clinicians ask about occupational history to determine if silica exposure has occurred, and if it has, that extra attention might be given to the early detection of silicosis and lung cancer, as well as extra emphasis on quitting smoking. The authors recommend that individuals with significant occupational exposure to silica be offered screening beginning at age 50 years if they also have smoked the equivalent of one pack a day for at least 20 pack-years; what experts call 20 pack-years of smoking.

The report says while there is some low-level silica exposure on beaches and in ambient air in general, there is no evidence such low-level exposure causes health effects. The more concerning exposures occur on the job, most often in the construction industry. Exposure occurs when workers cut, grind, crush, or drill silica-containing materials such as concrete, masonry, tile, and rock. About 320,000 workers are exposed in general industry operations such as brick, concrete, and pottery manufacturing, as well as operations using sand products, such as foundry work. Others are exposed during sandblasting. Silica exposure also occurs from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of oil and gas wells.

The most effective measures for the control of occupational silica exposures include banning sandblasting, substituting metal grits for abrasive blasting, modifying processes and equipment, and controlling dust transmission by using enclosures, air curtains, water spray, and ventilation techniques, and the use of personal protective equipment.

"Current regulations have substantially reduced silicosis death rates in the United States, but new cases of silicosis continue to be diagnosed," says Dr. Steenland. "And while the lung cancer risk associated with silica exposure is not as large as some other lung carcinogens, like smoking or asbestos exposure, there is strong and consistent evidence that silica exposure increases lung cancer risk."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Cancer Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kyle Steenland, PhD; Elizabeth Ward, PhD. Silica: A Lung Carcinogen. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, December 2013

Cite This Page:

American Cancer Society. "Increased attention needed for cancer risk from silica." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131210102056.htm>.
American Cancer Society. (2013, December 10). Increased attention needed for cancer risk from silica. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131210102056.htm
American Cancer Society. "Increased attention needed for cancer risk from silica." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131210102056.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins