Student Research: Christopher Carlsten
Cement masons represent a significant at risk group. They work with concrete (mixing, pouring, finishing, etc) and are known to have significant exposure to silica-laden dust (Tjoe-Nij 2003). Masons hold about 471,000 jobs according to the most recently analyzed census data (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health 2005), represengint a sizable population at risk. At high doses, silica results in silicosis, a condition characterized by radiographic changes, impaired pulmonary function, and increased risk of other respiratory diseases (American Thoracic Society 1997).
Silicosis and silica exposure are associated with autoimmune disease but the specific mechanism for this is unclear. Increased risks of autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma, and of related renal dysfunction, have been observed among occupational groups highly-exposed to silica, and the strongest increases have been reported among silicotics (Calvert 2003, Conrad 1996, Hastein 1990, Hotz 1995, Klockars 1987, Parks 1999. Parks 2002, Sluis-Cremer 1985, Steenland 1995, Steenland 2001a, Steenland 2001b, Stratta 2001, Wilke 1996).
Taken from the beginning of thesis.