Humans constantly come into contact with amorphous silicon dioxides contained in numerous foods as fillers, flow promoters or additives (E551).

 

Being non-toxic, the amorphous type is contained in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Moreover, it is used in food processing (for example for clarification of beer) and is added to tooth pastes as abrasive agent. It is due to clogging that the nanoscale of the amorphous particles becomes irrelevant.

In contrast, inhalation of the (microscale) crystalline type, i.e. quartz, causes silicosis (also referred to as quartz pneumoconiosis or grinder’s disease). Silicosis is a pathological alteration of the lung which is caused by long-time inhalation of quartz dust particles. Being in the group of pneumoconioses, it is considered an occupational disease that is subject to compensation. Suitable protective equipment must be worn therefore when working with quartz dust. Download-Link for Merck Material Safety Data Sheet "Quartz", date 25.08.2006. (PDF-Document, 23 KB).

 

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