Silica Dust Exposure at Work and Kidney Damage

Silica Dust – What is it?

Silica dust is created by cutting, grinding and drilling building materials such as concrete and masonry. Silica is comprised of quartz which is a very common mineral. You will be familiar with many of the materials which contain silica. Did you know the most common constituent of sand is silica? Sand is the main component of concrete and masonry. Silica dust particles are tiny, over 100 times smaller than the sand you see on the beaches.

If you are exposed to silica dust in the workplace, this can cause many chronic health problems including kidney damage and kidney failure. The more you are exposed, the greater the risk. It only takes a very small amount of airborne silica dust to create a significant health hazard.

Workers who have been routinely exposed to silica dust may be at risk of developing kidney disease.

Where Can Silica Dust Exposure Take Place?

You may have been exposed to silica dust if you have worked in the following industries:

agricultural chemicals,
asphalt and roofing,
car repair,
ceramics and pottery,
and mining.

What is Kidney Failure?

Kidney failure occurs in two forms – acute ( which is a sudden failure of kidney function), or chronic (where there is a gradual loss of kidney function).

Acute renal failure is very rare but has occurred after very high exposures to silica (e.g. when blasting silica).
Chronic renal failure can be caused by persistent exposure to silica dust over a number of years, such as working in a quarry.

Protect Yourself from Kidney Disease

You should see your doctor if you have the following symptoms:

Swelling of parts of the body, especially around the eyes and ankles
Lower back pain, where the kidneys are located
Burning sensation during urination
Bloody, foamy or coffee-colored urine
Changes in how often you need to urinate
Changes in urine color
Your doctor can decide what screening tests you may need if you have any of these symptoms.

How Can Silica Dust Exposure Cause Kidney Damage?

Silica dust doesn’t necessarily need to be physically in the kidneys to cause disease. Researchers believe that the silica sets off a generalised immune reaction. The products of the immune system then lodge in filters in the kidneys, which leads to their eventual destruction. Most people exposed to silica dust do not get significant renal disease, but some people do have an inherited susceptibility to kidney disease which becomes triggered by prolonged exposure to silica dust.

Successful personal injury claims have been made against companies where workers have been exposed to silica dust

We at Geoffrey Lurie Solicitors Newcastle upon Tyne have unique experience in this ground breaking area of law. Working alongside leading kidney experts, we have successfully obtained significant compensation for our clients.

If you have been diagnosed with kidney damage or kidney failure and you have been exposed to silica dust in the workplace then you should talk to us.

We will assess your potential claim and give advice as to how to proceed. Please call on 0191 466 1444 and ask for our expert Personal Injury lawyer or email for free initial advice. If you have a claim we will act for you under a NO WIN NO FEE arrangement, you have nothing to lose by calling us!

For any more information please call 0191 466 1444 . Alternatively, email: or fill in our contact form and we will respond as soon as possible.

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