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RE: [Killietalk] Quartz Sand
Wright Huntley wrote:
> I should have mentioned the health risk. Silica (silicon dioxide), as
> opposed to silicate (the more common and stable ion of silicon as in
The mineral quartz is silicon dioxide and it is also a silicate mineral. It
also happens to be the most stable (both chemically and physically) of all
the common silicate minerals, more so than any clay mineral, for example.
> ........ is a severe lung irritant and carcinogenic if you breath enough,
> long enough. All silica forms can cause silicosis and other lung
> problems, but the fibrous form (asbestos) is probably the most hazardous
> (and infamous).
Since we are discussing the occasional handling of very small quantities of
quartz sand, let us not blow the health risk aspect out of proportion.
People who suffer from silicosis are those who, generally, have inhaled
large quantities of silica-rich dust over very long periods of time (often
over almost a lifetime) and in confined and often poorly ventilated places
In my opinion, the health risk in handling quartz sand for aquarium purposes
is insignificant. One would almost certainly inhale more silica dust by
spending a few minutes outdoors on a breezy day than by preparing a small
amount of sand for a fish tank !
Brian R. Watters
University of Regina
Regina, Sask. S4S 0A2, Canada
Ph: (306) 584-9161 (home); (306) 585-4663 (work)
Fax: (306) 585-5433
E-mail: bwatters at sasktel_net
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