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Silicosis Attorneys in Los Angeles, California

What Is Silicosis?

Silicosis is a pulmonary disease that is caused by exposure to very small particles of dust that can get into a person's lungs. Silicosis often comes from long-term exposure to crystalline silica, which is essentially small dust particles, which enter the lungs of a victim. The most common form of silicosis may not be detected for 10–35 years after a workers’ initial exposure to the "silica."

Silicosis is typically found in certain types of workers who are exposed to "silica.” The victim's lungs will react to the silica by developing scarring around the silica. This leads to a dangerous condition making it difficult for a person to breathe. Many people with silicosis are at a high risk of developing other diseases, such as tuberculosis.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with silicosis and are wondering if you have grounds to take legal action, contact us today at Backus & Ernst, LLP. We’ll set you up with a free consultation in which we’ll outline your options. From our office in Los Angeles, we represent clients across California, including residents of Bakersfield, Long Beach, San Diego, and Oakland.

Who’s at Risk?

Millions of workers in the U.S. are exposed to silica. Each year, hundreds of workers die from illnesses caused by breathing in silica, and thousands more become ill. Silica dust can be created by any activity that breaks rocks, concrete, or any other material that contains silica.

Workers who engage in the following activities are at a high risk of developing silicosis: at the greatest risk include miners, drillers, sandblasters, foundry workers (mold shake-outs or knockouts, sand screening, sand recovery, conveying, grinding, etc.), cement, stone, clay, brick, and glass production are at risk.

The following people could have exposure to silica and develop silicosis:

  • Persons who work in asphalt shingle factories;

  • Persons with heavy exposure to fiber cement board;

  • Persons engaged in chipping, hammering, crushing, loading, and transporting rock products could have exposure to silica and develop silicosis

  • Persons involved in the sandblasting of buildings or old oilfield equipment involving concrete or other materials;

  • Persons who extensively saw, hammer, drill, grind, chip, or work with concrete or other rock substances;

  • Persons involved in the shipbuilding industry;

  • Miners, both surface and underground;

  • Railroad workers;

  • Glass manufacturing;

  • Welders and grinders;

Workers in the following industries could be exposed to silica and develop silicosis:

  • Stonemasonry and stone cutting – especially with quartz or sandstone

  • Construction and demolition – as a result of exposure to concrete and paving materials

  • Worktop manufacturing and fitting

  • Pottery, ceramics, and glass manufacturing

  • Mining and quarrying

  • Sandblasting

Manufacturers of paints, plastics, soaps, and detergents also produce silica dust. As a result, workers in the railroad, maritime, construction, and mining industries are often at great risk.

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What Are the Health Effects?

Silica causes permanent lung damage that can be disabling and can potentially lead to death. It can lead to serious, sometimes fatal illnesses including silicosis, lung cancer, tuberculosis (in those with silicosis), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). When workers inhale crystalline silica, the lung tissue reacts by developing fibrotic nodules and scarring around the trapped silica particles. If the nodules grow too large, breathing becomes difficult.

There is no cure for silicosis, but it is 100% preventable. Silica and other dusts can also cause COPD. COPD includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, bronchiectasis, and chronic airway obstruction. In 2014, COPD ranked as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. with over 147,000 deaths.

Signs & Symptoms

Some symptoms of silica exposure include shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, and severe cough and flu-like symptoms. Doctors may be able to detect silicosis with a simple chest x-ray. Unfortunately, by the time silicosis is diagnosed, it is often too late for the victim to make a full recovery. It is generally recognized as an incurable disease, although some victims may be candidates for lung transplants.

Symptoms from both silicosis and COPD may not be obvious, but they can be severe enough to cause respiratory failure, which may eventually lead to death. In addition, silica exposure has been linked to other illnesses including lung cancer and kidney disease.

Silicosis Lawsuit Inquiry

If you would like more information or wish to discuss a potential legal claim or lawsuit with an attorney regarding a silicosis lawsuit, reach out to us at Backus & Ernst, LLP. All inquiries, including information provided, are confidential. If your inquiry is accepted for further review, you will receive a prompt response (usually the same day or by the next business day).

If you or a loved one has experienced silicosis problems in California, don’t delay, contact our office in Los Angeles today. We work with clients statewide, including those located in Bakersfield, Long Beach, San Diego, and Oakland.