Control technology for crystalline silica exposures in construction: wet abrasive blasting

J Occup Environ Hyg. 2004 Mar;1(3):D26-32. doi: 10.1080/15459620490279665.


This study was designed to document the effect that wet abrasive blasting has on reducing worker exposure to crystalline silica, which has been associated with silicosis and premature death. In this study, worker exposure to respirable crystalline silica was monitored during wet abrasive blasting on the exterior walls of a parking garage to remove surface concrete and expose the underlying aggregate. In this process a wet sand mix comprised of 80% dry sand and 20% water was used. Sampling and analysis revealed that the geometric mean respirable quartz concentration was 0.2 mg/m(3) for workers conducting abrasive blasting and 0.06 mg/m(3) for helpers. When abrasive blasting was conducted in areas that apparently had reduced natural ventilation, dust exposures appeared to increase. When compared with other published data, this case study suggests that wet abrasive blasting causes less exposure to crystalline silica than dry abrasive blasting.

MeSH terms

  • Construction Materials*
  • Crystallization
  • Dust
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Explosions
  • Facility Design and Construction
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Silicon Dioxide / analysis*
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry*
  • Silicosis / prevention & control
  • Ventilation
  • Water


  • Dust
  • Water
  • Silicon Dioxide