Contaminated clothing will significantly increase the workers’ risk of contracting silicosis. Extreme cases of silicosis have been known to develop in as little as five months. Any and all methods to limit exposure must be considered.
In 2005, NIOSH produced a report in cooperation with Unimin Corporation titled, Reducing Respirable Dust Exposure of Workers Using an Improved Clothes Cleaning Process.
“One area of known worker exposure throughout all industries is from contaminated work clothing…a former U.S. Bureau of Mines report documented a number of workers that experienced a 10-fold increase in dust exposure over previous levels from an experience that significantly soiled the worker’s clothing. The respirable dust concentrations at the workers’ lapel after these occurrences indicated their Time Weighted Average (TWA) concentration would exceed the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) in two hours or less. As these individuals performed their work duties, dust was continuously emitted from their clothing and the only way to eliminate this dust source was to clean or change their work clothing.”