Silica, often referred to as quartz, is a very common mineral. It is found in many materials common on construction sites, including soil, sand, concrete, masonry, rock, granite, and landscaping materials.
The dust created by cutting, grinding, drilling or otherwise disturbing these materials can contain crystalline silica particles. These dust particles are very small and invisible to the human eye. When these tiny silica dust shards are inhaled, they often become imbedded deep into the alveolar sacs of the lungs (where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged).