silica dust testing

Silica Dust Testing

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Silica Dust Testing & Air Monitoring - NIOSH 7500

Our certified industrial hygienists (CIH’s) have extensive experience conducting silica dust testing, construction dust testing, employee exposure air monitoring, and area air monitoring for respirable crystalline silica using NIOSH method 7500 in commercial, manufacturing, and industrial workplaces. 

Silica dust testing in air is performed using calibrated sampling pumps, cyclones, and pre-weighed sampling cassettes (see photo to the right).  

Sampling is conducted over the course of the workday to evaluate area concentrations and employee exposure levels.  

Test results are compared to the OSHA PEL and ACGIH TLV to evaluate exposure risks to employees and area personnel.

Safe work practices, including the use of respirators and isolation barriers, need to be employed when levels are exceeded  

Contact a certified industrial hygienist at Angstrom Testing Services LLC for a free consultation for your crystalline silica air monitoring project.

NYC Transit - Silica Projects

Contractors performing work that involves the disturbance of concrete on New York City subway and transit property may be required by MTA Health and Safety officials to perform baseline area monitoring for respirable crystalline silica prior to the commencement of work. Area monitoring for respirable crystalline silica may also be required by transit officials to demonstrate that the general public’s exposure to crystalline silica is below the OSHA PEL and the ACGIH TLV. Contact a certified industrial hygienist today at 516-724-4574. Call Angstrom testing Services for silica dust testing today. 

For projects involving the New York City MTA subway system, sampling times lasts 4 to 6 hours in order to achieve the analytical sensitivity required by NYC Transit Health and Safety and so that the laboratory’s minimum reporting limit is below regulatory action levels. 

The NIOSH 7500 method, NYC transit, and OSHA require 2 field blank samples to accompany employee or area samples, so there is a minimum of three samples for crystalline silica projects. 

New York City Transit Health and Safety officials normally require test results no later than 72 hours after air sample collection so labs must be expedited, which translates into a 48 hour turnaround time and additional lab fee surcharges.

silica dust testing
Area Sampling for Crystalline Silica

Crystalline Silica Construction Dust

The disturbance of cement, concrete, and brick during the performance of demolition work, gutting work, and facade renovation and re-pointing work unavoidably results in the release of high levels of crystalline silica construct dust, which is an eye, nose, and throat irritant and an IARC category 1 carcinogen.

To prevent demolition and construction-related dust from infiltrating into non-work areas, the work areas must be sealed off from the non-work areas with the use of poly sheeting. The work areas must also be negatively pressurized relative to the non-work areas with the use of negative air machines that are exhausted to the outdoors. The use of poly sheeting containment and negative air machines will often be sufficient to control dust migration into non-work areas of a building.

silica dust testing

Residential Silica Dust Testing - Air Testing

Crystalline silica is an eye, nose, and throat irritant and a known carcinogen. Whenever cementitious materials are disturbed during demolition work and gut-renovation work, there is significant potential for crystalline silica to be released, distributed into surrounding areas, and inhaled, especially if safe work practices and dust control practices are not used by the contractor.

Air testing for crystalline silica (and asbestos) can be performed to evaluate levels of airborne crystalline silica if you are experiencing respiratory problems and/or eye, nose, and throat irritation as a result of ongoing demolition work and gut-renovation work. Ideally, the air testing for crystalline silica should be performed while the work is being conducted.

If the demolition/construction work has already been completed and non-work areas have become contaminated with settled dust, then settled dust sampling for crystalline silica (and asbestos and lead) can be performed to evaluate whether there may be an association between your adverse health symptoms and elevated levels of crystalline silica in settled dust. If the surfaces being disturb may also contain lead based paint and asbestos, then settled dust sampling should also be performed to evaluate levels of lead and asbestos in dust.

If levels of crystalline silica, lead, or asbestos are found to be significantly elevated in occupied non-work areas compared to regulatory or governmental guidance levels, then a substantial cleanup may be necessary to clean/abate the hazardous dust.


Please contact Angstrom Testing Services if you would like to discuss your construction dust infiltration problem and/or schedule any recommended sampling. We have teams of highly qualified and experienced Certified Indoor Environmental Consultants and Industrial Hygienists available to document existing conditions and to perform the recommended sampling.

Air Quality Testing-asbestos dust
Crystalline Silica Dust Sampling

Settled Dust Testing for Crystalline Silica

Airborne crystalline silica settles onto horizontal surfaces over time. Measuring crystalline silica levels in settled dust can be used to retrospectively determine airborne levels prior to particulate dust settling. 

Samples are collected using a cassette and vacuum pump, and the percent silica by weight is determined using NIOSH Method 7500 and X-Ray diffractometry. 

Call Angstrom Testing Services LLC for a free consultation. For more information, visit our air quality page


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