More than two million workers across the United States are exposed to crystalline silica each year. Exposure to silica can cause silicosis, which is a serious disease that can be disabling and sometimes fatal. It is estimated that there are about three hundred deaths due to silicosis every year. Crystalline silica dust that is airborne and then inhaled has also been linked to other diseases such as lung cancer and tuberculosis. Silicosis is also commonly misdiagnosed as pneumonia and pulmonary edema.

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