Silicosis is a lung disease caused by inhaling crystalline silica dust. Silica can cause serious lung damage decades after exposure, especially for those who work closely with the material. If you were diagnosed with this lung disease from silica dust, contact Lung Cancer Group now. We may be able to help you access compensation for medical care and other expenses.

Free Case Review

What Is Silicosis?

Countertop cuttingSilicosis is an incurable lung illness that can lead to disability and, in severe cases, death. Doctors consider it a pneumoconiosis, which is a type of lung disease primarily caused by inhaling dust that leads to lung scarring.

While it is not cancerous, this disease cannot be cured and may lead to serious complications as it progresses.

Silicosis Causes

The cause of silicosis is the inhalation of silica dust. Similar to asbestos, these dust particles are microscopic and can get stuck in the lungs, resulting in lung scarring (pulmonary fibrosis), irritation, and stiffening.

Crystalline silica is used in several construction materials, including:
  • Clay
  • Concrete
  • Quartz
  • Stone

When these materials are cut or ground, it can release silica dust into the air where it may be unknowingly inhaled.

Silicosis Symptoms

Symptoms of silicosis affect the respiratory system and may vary depending on the severity of the disease.

However, early silicosis symptoms may include:

  • A cough that does not go away
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness and fatigue

As silicosis progresses, symptoms can worsen to severe chest pain, weight loss, and even respiratory failure.

Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms and have a history of silica or asbestos exposure, as it could be a sign of silicosis or other serious conditions like lung cancer.

Lung Cancer Group may be able to help you find financial assistance after a silicosis diagnosis. Contact us today to see what you might be eligible for.

Who Is at Risk of Silica Dust Exposure?

A wide range of people are at increased risk of exposure to silica particles due to their jobs.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has found that 2.3 million Americans are exposed to silica at work.

Occupations that may regularly come into contact with silica include:
  • Construction workers
  • Heavy equipment operators
  • Plasterers or drywallers
  • Stone countertop fabricators

Sadly, anyone who may be conducting renovations or performing work around silica-containing minerals may be at risk of exposure.

Tasks that put respirable crystalline silica dust in the air include:

  • Breaking or grinding any silica-containing material
  • Cement surfacing and paving
  • Ceramics and glass manufacturing
  • Demolishing buildings with high amounts of silica-based materials
  • Metal casting or other foundry work
  • Mineral ore-treating processes
  • Quarrying (extracting stone) and stone cutting
  • Sand casting or sandblasting
  • Tunneling

Diagnosing Silicosis

Doctors use multiple tests to confirm a silicosis diagnosis.

Before providing a diagnosis, doctors will likely complete:
  1. Physical examinations and discussions of silica dust exposure history
  2. Imaging tests such as chest X-rays and computed tomography scans (CT scans)
  3. Pulmonary function tests (tests that examine how the lungs are functioning)

In some cases, doctors may also conduct laboratory tests to rule out other conditions. These tests can include blood tests or biopsies to examine tissue.

Talk to your health care provider as soon as possible if you think you may have silicosis so they can begin testing.

Types of Silicosis

There are three types of silicosis: acute, chronic, and accelerated. The type of silicosis a person is diagnosed with will depend on how much silica dust they were exposed to and for how long.

The table below breaks down each type of silicosis.

TypeSilica Exposure LevelLength of Exposure
Acute SilicosisExtremely high5 years or less
Accelerated SilicosisModerate to highAround 5-10 years
Chronic SilicosisLow to moderate15-20 years

Each type of silicosis will have variations in the severity of symptoms and treatment approaches.

Treatment Options for Silicosis

A female doctor examines an older male, who is clutching his chest to describe his symptoms

Sadly, there is no cure for silicosis since the damage done by inhaling crystalline silica dust can’t be reversed. However, treatments can improve lung function, quality of life, and life span.

There are a few potential treatments for silicosis:

  • Bronchodilator medicines can make breathing easier by widening and relaxing your airways.
  • Lung transplants can help people with severe silicosis by halting disease progression and improving quality of life.
  • Oxygen therapy delivers highly concentrated oxygen via an air mask or tube through the nasal passage. It can reduce irritation and breathing difficulties.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation helps patients slowly strengthen the lungs through monitored exercise.

The prognosis or expected outcome for silicosis patients depends on the patient’s health, the severity of their condition, and the extent of their silica dust exposure. However, many patients may have a positive prognosis after undergoing treatment.

Patients with silicosis can often live for 10-20 years after their diagnosis. In fact, 25% of silicosis patients had a survival time beyond 33 years, according to a study published in the Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Treatment for silicosis can be expensive. Thankfully, Lung Cancer Group may be able to help. Contact us now to learn more about the options available to you.

Complications from Silicosis

Because crystalline silica dust can remain in the body for decades, silicosis often progresses or worsens over time as scarring continues to build up in the lungs.

For this reason, many silicosis patients develop other conditions, including:

  • Kidney disease: Kidneys that are weakened or damaged cannot properly filter out toxins and waste from the blood, leading to multiple other health issues.
  • Lung nodule growths: Often non-cancerous, these are small lumps that form in the lungs.
  • Progressive massive fibrosis: Scarring caused by silica dust can continue to spread throughout the lung and greatly limit its function.
  • Pulmonary hypertension: As damage to the lungs continues, blood flow throughout the lungs can be limited, causing high blood pressure.
  • Recurrent chest infections: With reduced lung function, the risk of infections like chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and others is increased.

The Dangers of Silica Dust

Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and lupus are also sadly common among those exposed to silica dust.

Dust particles in the lungs are usually filtered by the immune cells known as alveolar macrophages. These cells are unable to break down silica dust and begin to weaken, causing them to attack other healthy cells.

Did You Know?

The Lupus Foundation of America reported that silica dust can increase someone’s risk of lupus by 2-5 times, making it one of the “strongest known risk factors” for the condition.

Additionally, silica can also increase someone’s risk of developing lung cancer. Approximately 230 people are diagnosed with silica-related lung cancer each year, according to Cancer Council.

Get Legal Help After a Silicosis Diagnosis

Workers who were exposed to silica dust and later developed silicosis or other serious lung conditions may be eligible to file a silicosis lawsuit.

These lawsuits seek to provide victims of silica particles with compensation to help pay for treatments and other expenses.

To start a silicosis lawsuit, you must have the following:

  • Proof of silica exposure, such as a job description, eyewitness account, or other job records
  • An official silicosis diagnosis
  • Medical bills showing the financial burden of getting a diagnosis or treatment

A compassionate silicosis lawyer can help you through the legal process and fight for the highest settlement possible in your case.

Lung Cancer Group is connected with some of the top silicosis attorneys across the country who are committed to helping those affected by this dangerous material. Contact us today so we can help you get started with a free case review.

Silicosis FAQs

What are the first signs of silicosis?

The first signs of silicosis may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Persistent cough

Talk with your doctor as soon as possible if you are experiencing these symptoms and have a history of silica dust exposure. They can begin screening tests to look for silicosis or other serious lung diseases.

Some jobs may place workers at increased risk for silica dust exposure.

High-risk occupations may include:

  • Construction workers, especially drywallers and plasterers
  • Countertop installers
  • Heavy equipment operators, such as farmers and engineers
  • Stone cutters

People can develop silicosis if they are exposed to extremely high concentrations of silica dust over the course of several months or years.

However, people exposed to low to moderate concentrations of silica dust can also develop silicosis if regularly exposed to silica dust over 15 to 20 years.

Silicosis usually happens after being exposed to silica for 10 to 20 years. However, it can sometimes develop after just 5 to 10 years of exposure.

Unfortunately, the lung damage from silicosis is irreversible. However, treatments like oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and medications can improve your quality of life and life span.

Lung Cancer Group was established by a team of caring advocates so those with lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases can get the help they deserve. Our site provides the most accurate and up-to-date information about lung cancer, its link to asbestos, and financial compensation available to patients. Contact us to learn more and get assistance.

  1. American Lung Association. (2022). Silicosis. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  2. Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). Diseases, Disorders and Injuries. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  3. Cancer Council. Silica dust. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Control of Drywall Sanding. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  5. Cleveland Clinic. Silicosis. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  6. Khemakhem, R., Moussa, N., Kotti, A., Feki, W., Mnif, Z., Feki, W., & Kammoun, S. (2022). Accelerated silicosis and silico-tuberculosis: A difficult diagnosis. Clinical case reports. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  7. Li, T., Yang, X., Xu, H., & Liu, H. (2022). Early Identification, Accurate Diagnosis, and Treatment of Silicosis. Canadian respiratory journal. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  8. Lupus Foundation of America. (n.d.). Understanding lupus environmental triggers. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  9. Medline Plus. (2023). Silicosis. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  10. NHS. (2021). Silicosis. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  11. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.). Silica, Crystalline. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
  12. Sokolove Law. Silicosis Lawsuit. Retrieved August 22, 2023 from
  13. Yang, H., Yang, L., Zhang, J., & Chen, J. (2006). Natural course of silicosis in dust-exposed workers. Journal of Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from
Free Case Review

Get Financial Compensation for Lung Cancer

  • Afford medical expenses and any other bills
  • Find peace of mind for you and your family
  • Get justice from the companies that harmed you

Call (877) 446-5767 or fill out the form to connect with our team and pursue financial compensation after a lung cancer diagnosis.

Start a Free Case Review

Secure Submission

Call us at (877) 446-5767 Talk to us via Live Chat