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Very paranoid about Silicosis


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12 hours ago, Mark C. said:

I can remember mix clay in collage (as a work sgtudy student job) and it was so dusty we had to leave the shed until it cleared out-there where no dust masks in the early 70's like today or at least they where not provided. I hold no ill will on the school as tnose where simpler times and since then endless lawsuits are now the mainstay-so folks cannot do things whutout running it thru legal first.

Dust we know its not good so just practice good contol methods. Now I have studio central vac stsyem and a aiedust cleaner for the studio air-all uinheard of in  the start of my carreer as a potter.If I die from silicosis its my fault but I;'m not worring about it as we all come to and end. I lost a close friend to a lung disease and know a bit about them and as I stated by the time you get diagonosed you are most likey toast.

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.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know of one yoga exercise where you twist your upper body and flick your arms from one shoulder to the other. i believe that can get rid of stuff in your lungs. Otherwise worries don't help, but sunlight, good food and movement. and yes you can clean (from now on!). Keep a bucket with a mop in the corner,  it doesn't have to be very neat.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Rew and everyone,

 

I appreciate this thread, and I stumbled upon it because I am in the middle of my own freakout about silica dust. I have been doing pottery for 2.5 years and have been pretty blase about dust. I have done a lot of dry sanding of greenware (outside), and have worn an N95 mask for most of it. Since COVID, I learned that N95 masks do not work well for people with beards like myself, and so now I am quite concerned that all that time I was breathing in massive amounts of silica. I am having some lung irritation and phlegm production that is making me paranoid. Does anyone know if wearing an N95 mask with a beard offers ANY protection? Or was I basically just breathing in dust all that time? I can't seem to find much information about this online other than the generic "there must be a tight seal" warning. If there isn't a tight seal is the mask completely useless? Thanks...

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1) most n95 masks are not rated for silica as they allow 5% of particles to pass through and only protect against .5mg per square meter of silica exposure.

2) no, a beard allows air to pass around the mask and into your lungs.  I mean there's minimal protection depending on how tight the mask is compressing against your face, but still not good.  I am often bearded and I use a very tight half face respirator and it seals quite well because the seal is silicone.

3) phlegm and mucus is not a symptom of silicosis, those are throat and upper respiratory symptoms whereas silicosis is a deep lung issue where scar tissue builds over time.  And over time I'm talking a lifetime.  Unless you've been snorting lines of silica the likelihood of you developing silicosis in 2.5 years is pretty much zero.

 

Get yourself either a full face or half face respirator and some n100 or p100 filters and relax.  Even p100 filters are only rated for 2.5mg silica per cubic meter of air, but will remove 99.97% of particles.

Keep everything wet, wear masks when sanding or mixing, don't trim dry, etc.  You'll be fine.   Keep in mind all the OSHA and niosh ratings are for 8 hours continuous exposure, which you'll never reach.

 

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Everyone is different on how this is for them.I made clay in school in the 70s,no mask and we had to leave the shed as we could not breath becuase clay mixing dust. I'm still here 45 years later and my last lung disfusion test was stellar last fall. I get one every decade.Just follow all the tips above. I would not try the silica line snorting though.I vacumm dust and toss my trimmings when wet.I haveadust control air handler in studio for making glaze as well.

Edited by Mark C.
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6 minutes ago, JRW said:

Thank you both for your input, it is reassuring. Do you know how often filters need to be replaced? Hard to find clear info on that.

For the n/p100 particulate filters you use them til they are too difficult to breathe through.  

The only ones that have an expiration are the p100 acid gas/organic vapor ones because they contain charged activated carbon and it absorbs vapor from the air.  Those need to be replaced after 8 hours of use if you still want that acid gas protection, however it will continue to filter particles.

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22 hours ago, JRW said:

Thank you both for your input, it is reassuring. Do you know how often filters need to be replaced? Hard to find clear info on that.

In my production shop its 6 moths to a year. I keep a junk waster filter over the hepa filter on my air system and change that more often

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