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Possible Causes of Silicosis

Silicosis is a long-term lung disease caused by inhaling large amounts of crystalline silica dust, usually over many years. Silica is found in many materials common on construction sites or in industrial settings, including soil, sand, concrete, masonry, rock, granite, and landscaping materials. The dust created by cutting, grinding, drilling, or otherwise disturbing these materials can contain respirable (breathable) crystalline silica particles. It only takes a very small amount of airborne silica dust to create a health hazard.

Working with these materials can create a very fine dust particle called respirable silica dust, which can be easily inhaled. These silica particles are very small and cannot be seen or smelled. Once inside the lungs, it causes swelling (inflammation) and gradually leads to areas of hardened and scarred lung tissue (fibrosis). Lung tissue that's scarred in this way doesn't function properly.

At Backus & Ernst, LLP, we’ve spent years learning about silicosis and how to help those who have been affected by it. If you’ve recently been diagnosed, reach out to us for a free consultation. We work with clients in Los Angeles and throughout California. Whether you live in Bakersfield, Long Beach, San Diego, or Oakland, we’re ready to answer your questions.

Symptoms of Silicosis

The severity of the symptoms of silicosis will depend on which form of the disease that you have. There are three main types of silicosis: simple/chronic silicosis, accelerated silicosis, and acute silicosis.

Simple/Chronic Silicosis

The symptoms of simple or chronic silicosis normally appear between 10 and 30 years after silica exposure. This type impacts the upper lungs and can cause extensive scarring in some people. The symptoms of this disease are similar to the symptoms of COPD and include difficulty breathing. Chronic silicosis can either be simple or complicated. This is distinguished with chest x-rays.

Those with simple silicosis may be asymptomatic or experience shortness of breath. Complicated chronic silicosis may cause breathing difficulties, a general feeling of malaise, weight loss, and a productive cough.

Accelerated Silicosis

The symptoms of accelerated silicosis normally appear between five and 10 years after silica exposure. This type of disease typically occurs within workers who experienced exposure to large amounts of silica in a short period of time. In cases like these, the disease progresses much faster than it does in simple or chronic silicosis.

Acute Silicosis

Acute silicosis is the most severe form of the disease. The symptoms of acute silicosis normally appear within 10 years after exposure to high levels of silica dust. The lungs may be very inflamed and fill with fluid. Symptoms may include severe breathing difficulties, low blood-oxygen levels, fever, coughing, and severe weight loss.

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Diagnosis of Silicosis & Prognosis

Doctors may perform imaging of your chest and listen to your lungs if silicosis is suspected. If you are diagnosed with the disease, you will also have a higher risk of developing chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, and other health conditions. Your lung capacity will likely diminish over time, meaning that you will eventually need breathing assistance devices and oxygen support to help you breathe.

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.