Dust Mask when Jackhammering Concrete – Silica?

Question by Gopher: Dust Mask when Jackhammering Concrete – Silica?
I didn’t wear a dust mask the other day when my friend (he didn’t either) was jackhammering a small section of concrete in his basement. It didn’t get that dusty as the room was large, and I was about 15ft away from him. Plus we only used the jackhammer for 10min, and we had a fan blowing to try and ventilate the area some. I didn’t realize anything about silica until I read about it later. Anybody else done this, and if so, any health problems? This was only a one time event, and I now know next time. I just don’t want to develop anything as I am only 26. Like I said, there wasn’t much of a dust cloud and we tried to ventilate the area.

I research a little about silica and silicosis, and supposedly it takes years of exposure to develop anything. Plus, I read that your body will remove any small exposure; you don’t want to overcome your lungs with silica.

Best answer:

Answer by mtn_viking
You’ll be just fine. I’ve been around concrete cutting, jackhammering and drilling for years. Sometimes w/ a dust mask, mostly w/o. I’m just fine. Beat my neighbor to the top of a peak in Glacier last weekend.

Don’t make a practice of it. If you are doing any concrete demo, you want a dust mask, ear plugs, eye protection and good ventilation. Actually, that is good advice for any type of construction work that creates dust.

That being said, there are lots of trades people walking around who have largely ignored that advice and are doing just fine.

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

3 Responses to “Dust Mask when Jackhammering Concrete – Silica?”

  1. Don M says:

    don’t worry about it your just fine. There has been years of exposure to to concrete dust before anyone even new it was dangerous next time use a dust mask

  2. ALTON J says:

    didn’t know concrete had silica in it, that is news to me. I have busted concrete many times and most of the time I didn’t have a mask on. Now silica is some bad stuff I try to stay away from it. I won’t buy the Hardie backer board because it has silica in it. I will be sixty next February.

  3. thewrangler_sw says:

    It’s not a good idea to make a habit of creating dust born particles without some kind of protection.

    Typically, with concrete dust, really fine sawdust, etc, if you get overexposed, you’ll develop a cough, or irritation in the lungs, while your body works to remove the foreign material. (I got nailed like that one time, when someone shut off an industrial dust collector, while I was operating a widebelt sander — coughed and had ‘flu’ like symptoms for 2 weeks, heheh)

    Your best course of action, I would think, if you are not suffering any ill effects right now, would be to take a small sample of the dust in with you to your next regular doctor’s appointment, and mention it to him. He can have the sample tested for hazardous material, and give you the best advice on what course of action to take. If you notice yourself coughing more, or your lungs start bothering you over the next day or so, then go ahead and schedule that appointment, and not wait for the next ‘check up’.

    Jackhammering concrete in a basement would call for respirators, gloves, safety glasses, and hearing protection, as minimum safety precautions. I’d probably go so far as to use a full face mask, with filter cartridges…better safe than sorry. Get into the habit of being ‘overprotective’ with your health and working conditions – it is all too easy to have one complication, or mistake, to set your health back, and cause problems.

    Be Safe :)

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