A Guide to Respirators Used for Dust in Construction

Construction dust can cause serious damage to workers’ health and life-threatening diseases. Construction workers can be exposed to many types of dust, such as silica, wood, and lead dust. Workplace exposure to small particles of silica dust, also known as respirable crystalline silica, can lead to serious diseases, including silicosis, a progressive lung disease marked by scarring and thickening of the lung tissue; lung cancer; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and kidney disease. It’s estimated that about 2 million construction workers are exposed to silica dust on the job [CDC 2020]. NIOSH sets Recommended Exposure Limits (RELs), including a suggested