Fact Sheet

Chemical Hazards

The following links list tools, publications, and other resources to help prevent the most common injuries and illnesses in the construction industry.

Asbestos is well recognized as a health hazard and is highly regulated. OSHA and EPA asbestos rules are intertwined. For more information, click on the following:

Drywall Sanding Dust and respirable silica are problems for workers who sand drywall joint compound. Over time, breathing the dust from drywall joint compounds may cause persistent throat and airway irritation, coughing, phlegm production, and breathing difficulties similar to asthma. Smokers or workers with sinus or respiratory conditions may risk even worse health problems. When silica is present, workers may also face an increased risk of silicosis and lung cancer. For more information click on the following:

Lead overexposure is a leading cause of workplace illness. Therefore, OSHA has established the reduction of lead exposure to be a high strategic priority. Sources include paint, urban dust, and folk remedies. Sources include paint, urban dust, and folk remedies. For more information click on the following titles:

Silicosis is a disabling, nonreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease caused by overexposure to respirable crystalline silica. Silica is the second most common mineral in the earth’s crust and is a major component of sand, rock, and mineral ores. Overexposure to dust that contains microscopic particles of crystalline silica can cause scar tissue to form in the lungs, which reduces the lungs' ability to extract oxygen from the air we breathe. Typical sand found at the beach does not pose a silicosis threat. For more information, click on the following titles:

Wood Dust from power tools needs to be controlled. NIOSH has studied the problems and issues Hazard Controls for individual tools.

References

Guide to OSHA/NIOSH/ASTM Air Sampling Methods, Air Sampling Guide Database

NIOSH Master Index of Occupational Health Guidelines for Chemical Hazards

NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods, NMAM is a collection of methods for sampling an analysis of contaminants in workplace air, and in the blood and urine of workers who are occupationally exposed.

NIOSH/OSHA/DOE Health Guidelines, lists chemicals alphabetically giving introduction, recognition, evaluation and controls.

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemicals