letter to the editor

Jordan Brudos: Beware of dangers of silica dust

2013-02-01T00:15:00Z Jordan Brudos: Beware of dangers of silica dustBy Jordan Brudos | Ferryville La Crosse Tribune
February 01, 2013 12:15 am  • 

“If it’s silica, it’s not just dust.” This is Dr. Wayne Feyereisn of Mayo Clinic’s message regarding the health risks associated with frac sand mining.

Proponents of frac sand mining claim silica dust is the same as dust from local sand and gravel pit quarries. Not only different in duration and volume, it’s much more harmful to our health.

Multiple sizes of silica sand can come out of the mining process, much of it (up to 50 percent) so fine our lungs cannot clear it and the silica goes into the air sacs of the lungs. Our bodies have special cells, called macrophages, to clear anything getting into these air sacs, although there is a limit to the amount that can be cleared. When the limit is exceeded the macrophage dies and scar tissue is formed. This irreversible scarring limits the lungs’ expansion and oxygen exchange and leads to silicosis.

Silicosis takes 20 to 60 years to develop; therefore, it may not affect us as much as it could our children.

Silica is a Class 1 carcinogen, known to cause cancer. Silica also has been shown to cause an array of autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, IgA nephropathy and scleroderma.

With health risks as great as these, standards must be set along with air monitoring around mines, trucking routes, railroad loading spurs and processing plants. Or better yet, not allow such operations that put our health and our children’s health in jeopardy.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. Where's the reality
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    Where's the reality - March 24, 2014 9:03 pm
    Unethical use of presumed position of prestige and authority at Mayo Clinic to further a personal ridiculous hypocritical anti mining message. What a joke.
  2. Luna A Sol
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    Luna A Sol - February 03, 2013 12:57 pm
    In the 1930's, mines relied on workers desperate for work. 2000 men died from Silicosis building the Hawks Nest Tunnel. Workplace environmental regulation arose from Silicosis deaths. Please look at the video. The Silica Industry knows all about Silica Dust Exposure. There is no excuse for building in populated areas and next to schools. It is immoral.
  3. Luna A Sol
    Report Abuse
    Luna A Sol - February 03, 2013 12:08 pm
    Les and Lost, Please read up on this subject before criticizing those who would protect Wisconsin's families. This is an industry that is willing to fight to build next to schools and in city limits. I can provide data. Take a little drive up Hwy 53 to Bloomer and new Auburn area. Citizens are literally surrounded by mines, processing facilities a rail transfer facilities. Silicosis exposure on the job is highly regulated, yet we have nothing to protect the neighbors. It will not take 60 years to see the effects. Close neighbors are already seeing silicosis induced asthma. For high levels of exposure, acute silicosis happens fairly quickly. When most people think of silicosis they think of a chronic and lesser, but signifigant, level of exposure. Either way, silicosis is deadly. The fine unseen dust causes lung cancer, exacerbated COPD, Asthma, Silcosis (Chronic and Acute), Kidney Damage, and Skin Damage. These are not guesses . These are established facts. The mining co's know this.
  4. lostinparadize
    Report Abuse
    lostinparadize - February 02, 2013 3:06 pm
    Napolean; How melodramatic!!! Comparing the dangers of silica dust to Sandy Hook; you should be very proud of yourself for making that connection. I'm not saying that silica cannot be a health hazard; I'm saying you lean toward being a cheap shot artist. A sad fact of life dear sir; all of our children are going to die. Some tragically young maybe, some of old age after a full life, but all will die at some point. Do us a favor and don't try to sensationalize it to make your point.
  5. choker
    Report Abuse
    choker - February 02, 2013 12:11 pm
    Ardent flintknappers have known and protected themselves from this serious disease for a long time.

  6. LesTrafik
    Report Abuse
    LesTrafik - February 01, 2013 10:19 am
    This sounds just god-awful: developing debilitating breathing issues over a lifetime without insight to the source of the problem (from a different era). 20-60 years from now, frac sand miners will have left town or survived long enough for their insurance providers to deny your every claim, all while the family heirs to their investors will be safe and snug in their Texas havens. The mines are located not near their kids; what concern is it to them? Out of sight, out of mind(s).
  7. Napoleon
    Report Abuse
    Napoleon - February 01, 2013 10:08 am
    Excellent letter. What we're doing to our kids here in Wisconsin via silica exposure is worse than 2,000 Sandy Hook attacks: lots of our kids are gonna die so some folks can make a buck, so some folks can keep their monster gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks. Silica is the next asbestos: keep it covered up until you've made your money off the deal.

    If you care about Sandy Hook, you should care about this.

    I was surprised to see the writer connect silica with rheumatoid arthritis, so I went googling:

    "Silica exposure is associated with increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis: results from the Swedish EIRA study"

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