For a period of nearly 50 years, silica was one of the most studied occupational hazards in the world. It underwent dozens of evaluations by Science Advisory Boards and regulatory bodies in the pre-1970 era. The focus has nearly always been on those working in foundries, cement factories, cutting of concrete, and some other occupations.

In the post 2010 era, concerns were raised about the adequacy of the occupational exposure limits for silica. Concerns about toxic effects not previously recognized to be important were raised. The litigation associated with exposure to silica has increased substantially in recent years.   

We have nearly three decades of experience in studying this dust and would welcome an opportunity to help entities that are seeking advice.

Key Projects

  • Evaluated the take-home hazard associated with silica. We were asked to qualitatively and quantitatively evaluate the plausible workplace take home hazard associated with crystalline silica.
  • Evaluating the hazards of various occupations exposed to silica. We evaluated the history of occupational exposure of sandblasters to silica and the evolution of the associate personal protective equipment.
  • Assessed the loss of silicon from drug injection devices due to historical use of talc. We have examined silica exposures in drug injection devices. For a number of years, up to the present, some manufacturers of automatic drug injection devices used talc as a lubricant or coating on the inside of the device. Concerns were raised about the possible hazards posed by the silica in the talc. The amount of talc released by the device during various injections was measured and the health risks were evaluated.


  •      Brew D.W. and T. Slavin.  2020. Chapter 116: Silica and Silica Compounds.
    In: Farland, B., Klaunig, J.E., Levy, L., Helmut, G., Becker, R., Brew, D., and D. Paustenbach
    (eds.), Patty’s Toxicology. Seventh edition.
    Wiley & Sons, New York. In preparation

  •     Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 2016. Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. Final rule. Federal Register, 81(58), p. 16285. 

  • Madl, A.K., E.P. Donovan, S.H. Gaffney, M.A. McKinley, E.C. Moody, J.L. Henshaw, and D.J. Paustenbach. 2008. State-of-the-science review of the occupational health hazards of crystalline silica in abrasive blasting operations and related requirements for respiratory protection. J Toxicol Environ Health Part B. 11:548-608.