We make a lot of silica products, including a bit of fumed silica. There is
a risk of silicosis from breathing too much of it.
The most common symptoms of silicosis include difficulty breathing and a
cough accompanied by chest pain. As the condition worsens, additional
symptoms of silicosis, such as fever, weight loss, and night sweats, occur.
Most of the symptoms of silicosis result from the hardening of lung tissue
created by fibrous growths around silica dust. Because symptoms of silicosis
can appear long after contact with silica dust has ceased, victims may not
link symptoms of silicosis with their exposure. It is usually found in
people who have had long term exposure to silica dust, like rock cutters and
people working in a chemical plants.
I don't think incidental exposure puts you at much risk, but I always
suggest wearing a mask.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Frank San Miguel" <sanmi@...>
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2004 2:27 PM
Subject: [bolger] hazards when mixing fillers?
> All this talk of fillers has me thinking about the hazards of filler
> dust, especially fumed silica (sometimes called cabosil). When I dump
> it into the epoxy, I get small puffs in the air, some of which I
> inevitably breath in. I always wear a respirator when grinding our
> sanding, but often mix my fillers without a respirator (I still have
> good ventilation).
> So, a little aprehensively, I dug into my library and re-read the
> chapters about safety from "Devlin's Boatbuilding" and "The Gougeon
> Brothers on Boat Construction" There is a discussion about wood dust
> and why you should protect yourself when sanding fiberglass, but not
> much mention about fillers. Except, on page 58 of the Gougeon
> Brother's book, I found "...WEST SYSTEM fillers and additives present
> few health hazards. Use all of them in adequately ventilated areas,
> and, for comfort as much as for safey, avoid inhalation..."
> So "fumed silica" sounds to me suspiciously like "glass dust" and thus
> "baaaadddd for the lungs" I hope I am wrong - it is a relatively
> cheap filler and really awesome for creating very smooth spreading
> fillets and glue. Can anyone shed any light on the subject?