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Why is it dangerous?

Unfortunately, respirable silica dust (the silica dust that you can’t see) can be hazardous and can cause silicosis, the oldest industrial disease. 

As silicosis progresses, shortness of breath begins to occur and clinical tests will reveal a poor exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.  In later stages the patient may experience persistent coughing, fatigue, extreme shortness of breath and even complete respiratory failure.

While silicosis is progressive, irreversible and incurable, NIOSH and OSHA have taken the position that silicosis is completely preventable.