Systemic sclerosis (SSc) and interstitial lung disease (ILD) are two serious health conditions.

Many case-control and cohort studies have confirmed the association of silica exposure with SSc. The recent use of new materials such as engineered stone with high silica content has been associated with an unprecedented outbreak of connective tissue diseases, including SSc.

However, many other occupations are also associated with very high silica exposure. They are construction-related occupations, masons, miners, quarrymen, smelters, workers/craftsmen in the concrete industry, sandblasters, workers in tunnelling, stone carving and cutting, roofing work, tile-laying and cutting, workers in the sand foundry, ceramic and glass manufacturers and dental technicians.

SSc is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the skin, internal organs and blood vessels. Symptoms of SSc include thickened skin on the hands or face, joint pain, difficulty breathing, and digestive problems.

ILD is a group of lung disorders that cause scarring in the lungs. Symptoms of ILD include shortness of breath, chest discomfort, dry cough and fatigue.

Exposure to silica dust can significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing either condition and should be avoided whenever possible. It is essential for individuals working in environments where silica dust may be present to take all necessary safety precautions. Workers should always wear a respirator or face mask to avoid breathing in any silica dust particles. Employers must also take steps to ensure that their workers are adequately protected from exposure to the hazardous substance.

There is no cure for systemic sclerosis or interstitial lung disease, but early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. It is important to talk to your doctor about any potential risks associated with exposure to silica dust in order to reduce your chances of developing these serious illnesses. If you believe that you have been exposed to silica dust and are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with systemic sclerosis or interstitial lung disease, please seek medical attention immediately.

It is important that workers are aware of their rights when it comes to occupational health and safety and take necessary steps to protect themselves from the dangers of silica dust.

Turner Freeman Lawyers are experienced in representing people who have suffered from the effects of exposure to hazardous substances like silica dust. We offer free obligation advice regarding potential entitlements and will provide guidance and support through every step of the legal process.

If you have been exposed to silica dust, to discuss your entitlement in more detail, please contact us as soon as possible on 02 8833 2500 so that we can address any questions or concerns you may have about making a claim.