Respirable silica and other hazardous chemicals



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I am hoping someone can help me, or have some input on who I need to talk to. I am currently putting together a powerpoint presentation about the dangers of respirable silica and other hazardous materials that we encounter on a daily basis in hopes that it will increase awareness, help develop an effective engineering control plan, and inspire technicians to be mindful of their habits and how they affect their health and those around them. I have worked in this industry for 19 years but have never worked in a large laboratory with so many other technicians, until now. There is a significant "dust" problem, and I have spoken with other technicians that I work with in my department and most of them have not heard about the dangers of respirable silica, or think "it just goes with the territory." I hear a lot of coughing and sneezing going on and it's REALLY freaking me out and affecting my spirit. This isn't just harmless dust.... this is a cancerous, stealthy assassin who is out to rob us of our livelihood and kill us prematurely.

What I am having a hard time finding information on are the chemicals and abrasives that are bonded together to make up various rotary abrasives such as stone wheels, silicone polishers, hatho scotch-brites, etc. The MSDS sheets (when provided) are extremely vague and they seem a little "fishy" to me. They say that these are safe to use, but they do not list their composition. I have to scroll all the way to the bottom of the MSDS and I guess some states require more transparency than others, and let me tell you, when I actually google these chemicals independently I find that there are significant health risks associated with the composition of these abrasives. Why are MSDS sheets not more clear about what the hazards are? They are very confusing, lengthy, and frustrating for any technician to read through to decide what they need to do to protect themselves and others around them. I really hate to say it, but it seems as if there is a loophole somewhere which allows these companies (Kerr Rotary for example) and their manufacturers to hide important information that could save lives and it's very unsettling. I understand the need to protect your intellectual property, but at the expense of the lives of those who use your products? Am I just another conspiracy theorist or is this a serious problem?

I'm tired of feeling like a number, and I don't want to become a statistic. I'm a valuable asset. A highly skilled and educated certified dental technician who cares about every single case that graces my bench (which is a human life, mind you) and I want to keep doing this for as long as I can lift my handpiece. Your input is highly appreciated. Thank you for your time!

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