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HomeAnswersPulmonology (Asthma Doctors)exposure to silicaWhile sanding grout, I got exposed to silica dust. Do I have to worry about silicosis?

Can a single exposure to silica dust cause silicosis?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At December 6, 2022
Reviewed AtJuly 20, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have a question about silica dust exposure. I have been working on a fireplace, and the surrounding had a lot of dried grout. I was sanding the grout with a metal brush. I used an N95 dust mask for protection. However, I have not realized that the grout contained silica which is very harmful to the lungs. I am worried if N95 rendered enough protection. There was a lot of dust during the sanding around me and in my hair and clothes. I took a shower later. Also, please tell me if my family members are at risk if they were in and out of that without any masks. I am afraid that my infant was also exposed. He was there for about two hours after I was done sanding, but before the cleanup, he was about 10 feet away from the fireplace. But there was enough silica dust in the air to cause him damage. Should I be concerned about silicosis?


Welcome to icliniq.com. I read your query and can understand your concern. Only with long exposure, maybe about ten years, does the risk of silicosis increase. Even with a mask, there is exposure. Advise family members to maintain a distance of 500 meters. Since it is your occupation, periodically check your respiratory health and do spirometry and high-resolution computed tomography thorax. I hope this helps.

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

The family members were about three to five meters away. Is this considered high exposure? I have read that it usually takes years of exposure to cause silicosis. Is one exposure like this enough to cause silicosis?


Welcome back to icliniq.com. I read your query and can understand your concern. Yes, three to five meters distance is a high-risk zone, and you and your family using N95 is a good thing. It delays the disease development process. Periodical checks are recommended. Silicosis usually takes ten years to develop, and also when it develops, it presents as end-stage lung disease. Sanding may cause silicosis, but mainly stone cutters, mines workers and brick makers are at higher risk of silicosis. I hope this information is helpful.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Chandra Shekhar
Dr. Chandra Shekhar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)

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