Silicosis causes

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aparna Vuppala, M.B.B.S. [2]


Silicosis is caused by the inhalation of crystalline silica, including quartz, cristobalite, and trimidite.


  • Silicosis is caused by the inhalation of crystalline silica, including quartz, cristobalite, and trimidite.
  • Of all three, quartz is most abundant and is frequently associated with the development of silicosis upon prolonged exposure and/or exposure at extremely high concentrations.[1]

Source of Silica

  • Silica (silicon dioxide) is the most abundant mineral on earth. Silica exists in crystalline and amorphous forms.
  • Quartz is the most abundant form of crystalline silica. It is a major component of rocks including granite, slate, and sandstone.
    • Granite contains approximately 30% free silica
    • Slate contains approximately about 40%
    • Sandstone is almost pure silica[2]
  • In contrast, the amorphous forms, including vitreous silica and diatomite (formed from skeletons of prehistoric marine organisms), are relatively less toxic following inhalation than other forms of silica.
  • Cristobalite and tridymite occur naturally in lava and are formed when either quartz or amorphous silica is subjected to very high temperatures.


  1. Fernández Álvarez R, Martínez González C, Quero Martínez A, Blanco Pérez JJ, Carazo Fernández L, Prieto Fernández A (2015). "Guidelines for the diagnosis and monitoring of silicosis". Arch Bronconeumol. 51 (2): 86–93. doi:10.1016/j.arbres.2014.07.010. PMID 25479706.
  2. Lapp NL (1981). "Lung disease secondary to inhalation of nonfibrous minerals". Clin Chest Med. 2 (2): 219–33. PMID 6273058.

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