I have a question in regards to pulmonology and exposure to crystalline silica. I have done a ton of research on the internet regarding this subject and probably know as much as anyone can know based solely on internet information. So I am hoping someone with a more advanced knowledge of this toxin can give me some information. Here is my story:
- I recently worked on a project involving sanded grout that contains high amounts of crystalline silica (40 -70%).
- Unfortunately I inhaled a substantial amount without realizing the contents of grout and the effects of silica until further research after the project.
- This was not an ordinary project. I am a photographer and this was a photo shoot at a studio.
- We used it as powder and threw it in the air to capture the dust clouds in the photos.
- When we purchased this, it did not even cross our minds how dangerous it was.
- I poured 3, 25 lbs bags (totally 75 lbs) of polyblend sanded grout on the floor and stood at about 8 feet distance away from the model.
- She (the model) grabbed handfuls of this stuff and tossed it towards the camera and in other different directions.
- The grout was tossed in the air towards me throughout the shoot.
- The air was quite cloudy in the room regardless of the size.
- I tossed the grout in front of me several times with my bare hands as well.
- But, I did not have problems of breathing or talking in the room.
- The shoot lasted for 2 hours and we stayed to clean up for 2 hours afterwards (sweeping).
- It was 75 pounds of sanded grout and 100 pounds of mortar in a 2100 square feet room with a little fan blowing and with little ventilation.
- The dust got on everything and the air was thick with dust the entire time.
- We had about 3-4 hours of exposure to this with no masks.
- My ignorance has put a huge scare on me. I have been feeling shortness of breath, throat irritation and tightening of the chest.
I have been doing some thorough research myself, but the amount of silica inhaled to be considered high concentration (enough to cause lung cancer or silicosis years from now) is a little unclear.
- Is the amount which I have mentioned, with no respiratory mask, dangerous?
- I have read that these tiny particles can penetrate through the defenses of the lung and start scarring it in the long run.
- I have also read that it is possible to have acute silicosis through a single lethal exposure to crystalline silica.
- I know too much research is bad for a hypochondriac like me, but I would like some honest and thorough explanation of my chances on these long term lung issues.
I have attached the details of the polyblend sanded grout and its safety data sheet. After 3 weeks from the shoot, I have been experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath and dry cough. I have had chest x-rays, EKG's and visited urgent care doctors. Everything came back as normal, so I am not sure of what is going on. Instead I was diagnosed with sinus infection and acid reflux causing stomach pain as well. I have requested the doctor to do a PFT (Pulmonary Function Test).
I have not been able to eat or sleep properly and I have been worrying about this.