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  #1  
Old 07-16-2006, 01:03 PM
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desertrock desertrock is offline
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Question Silica exposure and safety equipment

I am a sculptor, carving onyx, granite, and schist. Right now, I work in my back yard using a respirator. My respirator uses a hydrogen floride and P100 particulate filter. However, the rock dust is all over the yard, which is desert landscape with rocks and no grass. I'm concerned about the constant residual exposure to silica for myself and my wife, since the dust is never removed from my surroundings. Also, I carry the dust in on my clothes, which then goes into the laundry. Does anyone have any information regarding the dangers of working outside without cleanup? Also, does anyone have any input regarding types of respirators, and the particular respirator I use? Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-16-2006, 04:46 PM
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I can't help a lot here. I use marble, which is silicon-free. However, the issue is inhilation and getting the dust into your eyes. I understand that there is no problem with having the dust in your environment IF you are not taking it in. Personally, I hose down my work yard every night - have just come in from doing so! I, too, would be interested in learning more about the silicon issue.
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Old 07-16-2006, 06:28 PM
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Blake Blake is offline
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

Desertrock
The problem of dust containing silica from various stone as well as clay can be very serious over the long term. I work with clay in a contained space, (studio) and try to wash the floor down with water twice a week normally and every other day during heavy work periods. I try not to sweep or vacuum too much as that just raises the dust. I would recommend that you wash down the area and try to use some sort of collection system if that is possible. Your respirator will help you during the carving but your surroundings are important to maintain on a regular basis. Hope this helps
Blake
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Old 07-16-2006, 10:16 PM
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

Very helpful. My biggest concern is the respirator. I have read articles that state both, the importance and non-importance of having a positive air flow, powered air re-circulator. I'm still curious if someone has or is using one of these types. When I'm surrounded with a cloud of silica flour, my nerves sometimes get a little edgy. I'd happily invest in the re-circulator and endure the cumbersomeness if enough experienced carvers suggested it.
Thanx.
Mark
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  #5  
Old 07-16-2006, 11:43 PM
Arrow Arrow is offline
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I wonder if you could rig a fan to suck the light air borne dust into a wet mesh/screen....sorta like a swamp cooler?

Last edited by Arrow : 07-17-2006 at 03:14 AM.
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  #6  
Old 07-17-2006, 12:54 AM
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

Actually *ALL* dust is injurious not just silica, it all causes respiratory issues and doesn't matter what rock it is, coal, sand, road dust etc.
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  #7  
Old 07-17-2006, 02:56 AM
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

Landseer is right - protect against all dust. Silicon, though, is too serious to mess with. This may not help you, but I have a large industrial size fan I use to blow dust away when I am working with an angle grinder. It gives direction to the dust when the wind doesn't, and this helps. In the workshop I have a small fan that directs the dust away from me as I cut/sand. Both enormously reduce the dust you are likely to take in. Filter systems for the workshop are dealt with in a thread elsewhere.
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Old 07-18-2006, 11:49 PM
Daniel Daniel is offline
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

Don't take dust lightly. One of my favorite professors back in college had what I believe was silicosis, and would always have to pause halfway through what he was saying to hack something out of his lungs. He was a stone carver who was a macho man back in his younger years and didn't always take precautions against dust. The effects of silicosis won't usually show up until you're in your forties or fifties and it's too late. I'm glad you're taking it seriously.
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Old 07-19-2006, 08:13 AM
robertpulley robertpulley is offline
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I hate this topic. It gives me the willies to think about it. So I try not to think about it. I work with clay mostly and my home studio is not the problem. In the summer it is pretty open, I keep a vent fan pulling air through the room, wet mop and try to keep things pretty clean.

My day job, though, is teaching art in a local high school. The ceramics/ sculpture program has doubled in size and I'm in an overcrowded classroom that has about 175 students per day going through it, each one working with clay. Needless to say, they create a lot of dust by the end of the day.

Some of the ceramics catalogs have big hepa filters that recirculate the air and filter it. The problem is that they create a huge draft that will lift up them little silica particles and get them airborne. I wouldn't waste my time or money on them. Silica will stay airborne in a quite room for several days. For an enclosed studio everybody says wet cleaning is the answer. Plus there are new shop vacs with hepa filtration that are really inexpensive (thanks, China). As for an outdoor, desert studio....

I liked the daily hose down, but you may not have access to that much water. THere is non-profit organization in New York that I traded e-mails with several years ago that specializes in fighting for healthy working situation for the arts. Maybe somebody knows about them.
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2006, 08:44 AM
tobias tobias is offline
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I work with granite and in my old studio i vent as well as filter and use a respirator. MY studio is totally enclosed and because of the venting (or extraction) I have a negative pressure while working. I use coveralls most days and Clean up almost every time i carve. I am still sure i bring this crap into the house with me but I think I am doing every thing I can . As Landseer stated all dust is bad and we all breath it every day . If you live in a desert you most likely breath silica any way as all sand is loaded with it. I think in our world with almost every thing becoming bad for you one needs to do what one can and then try and forget about it. Because if the silica dont get you the stress will. haha Sorry to make light but we are all gonna die and none of us know when. I allways love the story of the smoker who lives to be 80 it gives me hope not because i smoke but cause i do other things like carve stone and ride motorcycles and eat meat and drink and have sex and some times even do other things haha
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2006, 09:59 AM
jvc stone jvc stone is offline
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I second what Tobias said about where you live. The free silica you create from carving is only a small part of what is floating around in your environment every time the wind blows. Sure it is important not to breath in huge clouds, but a person can worry themself into a state of paralisis over occupational safty issues.

I worked for many years as a stone and brick mason. Cement dust is full of silica, brick dust is full of silica, and some of the stone work I did envolved sandstone and granite. Never did wear even a paper particle mask because--well because no one ever did. Now as a carver, I do wear a twin canister breather most of the time if I'm working sandstone, and on occassion will use a paper mask or my bandana if making clouds of limestone dust with a dry cut saw or grinder. All of the osha recommended (required??) safety equipment I find to be excessively encumbering, and limiting my ability to actually work. I fault no one for wanting to protect themselves from work place hazzards, but personally feel that a little common sense is required.
BTW, I'm 60 years old, and all my pulminary function tests fall within normal ranges or stronger. No signs of silicosis (which is a killer of stone workers) eventhough I've been in the dust dayin-dayout for close to 40 years.

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  #12  
Old 07-19-2006, 10:07 AM
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I feel better already....and so will my wife.
Thanks for all the replies.
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  #13  
Old 07-19-2006, 11:00 AM
smkie Kemp smkie Kemp is offline
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I worked for a company called STain Glass Creations for about two years. I was the etched glass "man". i designed and etched a lot of windows for those folks. When i first started a friend showed me how in an auto body shop. She gave me a pollen mask. AFter i was done my lungs felt like they had gained about 5 lbs each. It was fortunate that i soon applied for a job with Oaken Images and Pat was horrified as she showed me the proper vapor mask i would use from that time on. Still when i took it off there would be little pieces of silica in the mask which made me wonder . I prolly did a couple hundred pieces at least a year. That was 20 years ago and so far i am still alive and kicking with so far no bad respitory results from stupid beginnings. Now i spend three days a week in a facility that is a clay guild. I am a glutton for punishment i guess. Maybe angels will look after this fool, i sure hope so.
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2006, 12:52 PM
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

Etching glass would involve an acid of some sort, yeah that would not be a good idea to breathe in much of. A pollin mask is useless- worse than useless as it promotes a false sense of security. From the sounds of it, you probably DID do some damage to the lungs, but I believe even so, it's not too late to prevent it from getting worse by taking steps now to stop inhailing dust and fumes of any kind.

The thing with lung damage/diseases like silicosis, asbestosis etc is the particles cause injury, scarring and some loss of function, it becomes progressive if you keep adding more to it, and at some point a critical line is crossed where the lungs can no longer provide enough oxygen and that's when you start having some medical issues.

The other is of course cancer on top of that loss of function/damage, some cancers may take 20-30 years to develop IF they do, I would say with your relatively short exposure time cancer is unlikely and I would be more concerned at this point in preventing further damage.
If you have symptoms or want to set a baseline, you can talk to your doctor and maybe get a chest xray and/or some lung function test as a reference base.
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Old 07-25-2006, 02:29 AM
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

Came across material on silicosis, sometimes called 'stonemason's disease', on the BBC website. May be of interest. Emphasises the need to deal with dust and NOT get it in the lungs.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/conditions/silicosis1.shtml
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  #16  
Old 07-28-2006, 11:24 PM
Multi_Pass Multi_Pass is offline
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I made a thread similar to this one. I wasn't aware that there was one that was on going.

I need help finding the right kind of respirator for myself actually. I'm new to stone carving (marble and some softer stones which I forget their name, one is calcite I know that) and am obviously new to some of the tools and safety equipment that's needed.

I was using a regular paper mask when I was using a dimond bladed grinder on one of the softer stones (the one I forget the name of. It's a dark green almost black when polished, and is a really dense and heavy stone from Canada). I worked for about 2 hours about a week ago and I had to stop because I started coughing too much. Now, a week later, I'm still coughing and my chest is a little tight from all of the coughing. I stopped working untill I can find the right kind of respirator to use. The Home Depot people are completely useless but I'm sure that some of you knew that already.

Here's a link to my thread if you need anymore info:
http://www.sculpture.net/community/s...ead.php?t=3287

Anyhow, any help is greatly appreciated if you know what proper respirator I should be using. I'm also on a tight budget (I had no idea that they were soo expensive).
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  #17  
Old 04-16-2008, 09:25 AM
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desertrock desertrock is offline
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I brought this thread back because I started using a positive flow respirator that is working very well. I found this on ebay for about 40% off.
I would recommend this to anyone carving stone. It's called Breathe Cool and has replaced my current respirator. The link below takes you to the sellers store where you can buy or read about this unit.

Mark

http://cgi.ebay.com/Supplied-fresh-A...742.m153.l1262
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  #18  
Old 04-16-2008, 09:35 PM
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Re: Silica exposure and safety equipment

I have had a positive air flow respirator for years. I decided early on that the investment was worth it, and that I would never trust my canisters to be good enough. I bought a more powerful one a couple of years ago, and now I can use a hood to protect my entire face.

Weird things affect me, such as plastic dust, steel wool, etc. Now I just don the respirator, with a half mask, full face mask, or hood and work w/o problems.

I would recommend that any one working long hours with hazardous substances (any thing other than clean air) should invest in one of these units. They should last a long time and will cost little per month / day when viewed in that manner. You can keep the compressor upwind, or outside if working inside.

Worth every cent.

Another option is to get a paint booth and use it for every thing. I'm looking into that option also.

Ari.
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