Why is Crystalline Silica Important?

Crystalline silica is a key ingredient in products we use every day.

Crystalline silica is so common that it really is a building block of modern life. Products containing it are used in a vast array of industries, and crystalline silica is a key component in the manufacture of millions of products.

It is an irreplaceable ingredient in lots of  high-tech applications, for example precision casting, fibre-optic cables, and the raw materials for computer chips. It is present in our computers and phones. It is even key to the infrastructure of the internet, renewable energy and telecommunications.

It is a key part of how we get around – our cars and buses, roads and railways.

Our homes are even made from it – rocks, glass and ceramics, and many of the things we use every day contain or rely on crystalline silica.

In all of these everyday contexts, crystalline silica is completely safe. It is inert, meaning that it does not react with any chemicals, and it is not harmful to health.

Where it can cause negative health effects is to workers in industrial workplaces, who are cutting, grinding or crushing materials containing crystalline silica on a daily basis. These activities create a very fine dust called respirable crystalline silica, or RCS,

Find out more about respirable crystalline silica (RCS)