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  1. Sorry to hear about your friend, Mark! True, something will get us all in the end! I'm only 31 now and there are many things that could get me before silicosis does, ha! But I will do my best now to limit any further exposure.
  2. Thanks so much, you are right. I was extremely anxious yesterday but feeling more normal and rational now thanks to you guys.
  3. I think the reason why people are now a lot more worried is because of the internet!!
  4. Thanks so much! I've learned now to clean a little every day, and not wait for the mess to build up so much that it is a colossal task!
  5. Haha thanks! I guess I was worried also cos I was a smoker, which makes everything worse! I am glad to hear you are so healthy!! My lungs are recovering from smoking (I will NEVER smoke again) and I'm exercising more so I hope to build up my lung capacity. So glad I gave up by age 30. I'll continue to keep my studio super clean but I won't be neurotic! When do you think somebody should be concerned? For example, if they worked with clay for 40 years, very often mixing dry clay and glaze and sanding with no mask ever?
  6. Thanks Min! Glad to hear you are well! Some of the stuff I was reading was terrifying, like people acting as if the dust would burn your skin or something! It can really lead you down the rabbit hole. It does seem to be FAR more prevalent in coal minors and workers who grind 90 percent silica rocks with no mask etc., especially those poor workers in India and China I'd imagine, perhaps, in a pottery workshop it would take many, many years of exposure and even still, it may never develop. I will continue making pots and keeping my studio very clean. I put linoleum over my shelves and removable plywood on top so I can wipe everything down super easy. No air purifier but I leave the door wide open for hour after the studio has been cleaned to let some clean, fresh air circulate. I wear my mask too. I'm sure that'll be good enough...!
  7. I can only do that June-Sept in Ireland due to cold!! I'm airing out the studio right now as I type invoices and search this great forum...and STOP procrastinating by reading excessive amounts about silicosis!
  8. Sounds good! Do you think it is a good idea to open studio door to the outside air on non-windy days to clear out contaminated air? I reckon due to my poor practice that there is a lot of airborne silica in my studio so I want to keep my studio clean and dust free from now on to not create new dust, whilst trying to get rid of the silica that is already in the air.
  9. Indeed! I imagine living in some parts of California or Nevada to be very dusty...I've heard the accounts from Burning Man and Coachella! Reading more stuff....some people seem to keep their studio spotlessly clean at ALL times, cleaning as they go constantly...I have no idea how they get much work done...
  10. Haha thank you!! The cleaning is also a good work out and breaks up the long periods of sitting whilst working, another thing to be mindful of...! I think some people take longer to mature than others...! I was reading forums where exasperated older construction workers said the lads under 30 rarely wore their masks. Some people on ceramics forums talk about clay dust like it is radioactive so that can instill a lot of fear. I think one can channel that fear into something positive by taking precautions but it can also be negative, making people extremely neurotic...having a significant impact on mental health etc. After reading tons of these comments and having flashbacks to my dirty studio I became progressively more paranoid and frightened which could have had a significant effect on my mental health, and perhaps others who read about it. Iv'e seen come terrified posts from people who had one exposure to dust and thought they were done for after reading about silicosis! I want to find the line between not being overly neurotic and practicing good studio hygiene.
  11. Haha thank you both! How could I go from such a care-free, irresponsible smoking/drinking potter to a neurotic mess....! Last April I was visiting my partner in Paris and I caught a cold from a friend a few days previous. My sister messaged me and told me she was in the countryside of Ireland and visited a potter's studio, and it was immaculately clean. He told her the dust was very dangerous and he had to keep his studio very clean, plus, he had employees. He was a 50 something year old smoker, been making pottery for decades. My far more responsible sister messaged me and told me all about this, and I started to grow concerned, despite already knowing about silicosis but not giving it much thought at all. That night, we went for drinks around the city of Paris and I woke up the next day with a horrific chest infection. I had heard of many people getting chest infections quite often, but I've never gotten one and this was awful. Hurt to breathe. Convinced I had silicosis. The infection cleared up on it's own fully after 2 weeks, with dramatic improvement after a week, no antibiotics. But it scared me so bad and now I am neurotic! So there's my life story, haha! Moreover, if I wasn't a potter and worried about silica, I probably never would have quit smoking, so there's that.... I'm glad it happened though because now I will implement much safer studio practice because for a while, I was real bad...
  12. Hi All! I love this forum, long time lurker So...I have FINALLY grown up at age 31 and am paranoid about silicosis. I am a full time potter - I have a small studio shed in my backyard. I started full time in 2015 and I am a messy person, so did not take very good precautions in studio. For the first year, I only used store bought wet glaze and I have never ever dry mixed my own clay. Only made slab work from bags of pre-made clay. But I have left dry bits of clay lying around and didn't regularly clean my slab roller/canvas. From 2016 to present I started slip casting which is dusty and a pain due to the drips and clay collecting on the mold. I wasn't careful here either plus I started mixing my own glazes (very small quantities of 1 litre at a time a couple of times a month using a bought base glaze powder, a mason stain and water). From 2017 to present I wisened up slightly and wore a proper respirator at ALL times, replacing the filters etc. I also used to smoke on occasional weekends and quit a year ago (yey, more growing up and not think I am invincible!). So I've had about 5 years dust exposure full time in my studio, but wore a mask full time for half that time. Was occasional smoker also. Due to my paranoia and a more profitable venture, I have decided to cease making pottery and I now only make tiny porcelain jewellery which creates VERY little dust and is extremely easy to clean and control. I am getting rid of the shelves in my studio, attacking every inch with a wet mop and opening the door wide during these summer days to get rid of contaminated air. I feel no symptoms whatsoever so when I called the doctor for a reference for a chest CT he said there's no point as I will be subjecting myself to a dose of radiation for no reason, and even if something DID show up, there's no cure anyway so don't bother with the x-ray or CT. I've now become super neurotic and paranoid, and I am thinking about this all of the time. I rarely get coughs/sick but if I do in the future I'll suspect the worst! I've become way too aware of my breathing also and it's creeping me out a bit. I have read up a TON about silicosis this month and it seem to effect miners, sandblasters, demolition workers a lot more, especially in developing countries, over many years. They seem to be exposed to far greater amounts of silica dust than your average potter. But I know it effects everybody very differently. My partner's grandfather now has bad lung issues due to years of woodworking with no mask, but he has lived a very good life up to now and he is almost 90! I also read it is quite uncommon in people under 50, but I hope to have a nice retirement with my partner where we can go for walks. I also read about Indian coal miners who suffered far less due to consuming a special sugar called jaggary which apparently is great for clearing out your respiratory system?! So, my hope is that my few years exposure won't cause too much trouble. If it effects me in my 80s, I don't really mind as I'm sure something else will get me before then! Do you know any potters with silicosis? How old were they? Is it common? Do you get chest x-rays/CTS etc? Am I being too neurotic or am I now finally being responsible and minimising any further damage? Thank you!! Greetings from Ireland
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