The Department of Labor recently issued their new rule on silica dust which they believe will dramatically decrease silicosis and silica-related cancer each year. Thomas Perez, Secretary of Labor claimed that the rule limiting exposure has been flawed since the 1970's and they've known for 40 years that it was in need of strengthening. Perez says that exposure to silica dust is currently at 250 micrograms of silica per cubic meter of air but it should be at 50 according to scientists which the new rule will say.
Many who have seen loved ones suffer or die from silicosis and wonder about their own fate believe that this ruling was necessary. However some believe that the rule is fine as is, citing such statistics as the number of silicosis cases having fallen 90% from 1968 to 2010.
Nonetheless, Perez believes that it is time to take the necessary precautions to reduce exposure:
"Silica is a killer and employers need to take the necessary steps so that they can reduce exposure," says Perez. "And the good news is that those necessary steps are not going to break the bank. It's real simple stuff. Get a vacuum. Get water. Those are the key elements of pretty simple compliance."