Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Investigation of the Health Effects of Workers Exposed to Respirable Crystalline Silica during Outdoor and Underground Construction Projects in Greece

Version 1 : Received: 28 February 2020 / Approved: 6 March 2020 / Online: 6 March 2020 (04:25:53 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 7 April 2020 / Approved: 8 April 2020 / Online: 8 April 2020 (04:22:26 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine 2020, 20
DOI: 10.3892/etm.2020.8786


Chronic exposure of workers to powder containing crystalline silica (SiO2) can lead to chronic lung diseases (lung cancer, silicosis, etc.). The aim of the study was to evaluate the exposure of Greek construction workers to SiO2 and describe their pulmonary function. The study involved 86 outdoor and underground workers. Medical and professional history was obtained, and samples were collected for the determination of SiO2 levels. Pulmonary function tests, radiological examination and evaluation of radiographs were, also performed. During the examination of the pulmonary function, the majority of the workers were within normal range (61.4%) while the rest were diagnosed with mild (26.5%) and more severe impairment (7.2%). Working conditions (underground-outdoor) were statistically significantly related to the categorization of pulmonary function (P = 0.038). During radiological examination, the type of working conditions (underground-outdoor) were statistically significantly related to the categorization of these findings (P = 0.044). Of the 69 employees, 52 did not present findings (75.4%) and five (5) were diagnosed with findings specific to occupational diseases (7.2%). The environmental exposure to RCS (Respirable crystalline silica) was detected at 12 mg / m3 in the workplace, which is beyond the legal limits. Underground workers with more than 15 years of exposure to SiO2 may experience silicification in its chronic form compared to the workers of outdoor activities.


silicosis; silicon powder; crystalline silica (SiO2); construction workers; occupational exposure; occupational exposure limit; occupational hygiene


MEDICINE & PHARMACOLOGY, Pathology & Pathobiology

Comments (2)

Comment 1
Received: 8 March 2020
Commenter: Vassiliki karavana Ph. D
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Congratulations. Excellent work. Well establish results.
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Comment 2
Received: 10 April 2020
Commenter: Christina Tsitsimpikou, MSc, PhD, ERT
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Rapporteur for RAC (Risk Assessment Committe, European Chemical Agency) for silanamine ( 1,1,1-trimethyl-N-(trimethylsilyl)-, hydrolysis products with silica)
Comment: The topic addressed is very hot and actual human data are very important for attributing harmonised classification to substances according to CLP Regulation.
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