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Silicosis is a respiratory disease of the lungs that develops directly out of prolonged and extensive exposure to airborne crystalline silica. This work-related disease can be disabling and, in certain cases, even fatal. Victims of silicosis typically work in jobs with high levels of silica-exposure, such as construction, sand blasting, and mining. Lungs will react to the silica by developing scarring around the silica which leads to difficulty breathing. The most common form of silicosis might not be detected for ten to 35 years after a worker's initial exposure. Some telltale signs of silica exposure are shortness of breath, fatigue, chest pain, severe cough, and flu-like symptoms.
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