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Silica as a cause of scleroderma

4 posts in this topic

Hi, Everyone


Here is that word again, silica? Just what is this substance? Okay what's bothering me is that I purchased a pack of B12 vitamins today and as I was reading the contents, silica was actually in the vitamins. I'm taking them back to the store.


So now I look silica up once again on the internet and I found some information that raises a lot of concern about silica. Now what makes me really wonder is prenatal vitamins, there is silica in some of them. Why do they put those silica packets in our foods? I have found them in pre mixed salads, also in beef jerkey, etc. Some children have eaten them by accident and parents have called poison control centers. :temper-tantrum:

northstarhope* :emoticons-i-care:  :thank-you: 

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Hi NorthStarHope,


This is a good question you raise. As it happens, the earth is made almost entirely of silica. It is in sand, dirt, gravel, cement, you name it. Many thousands of products contain silica; and it is, in general, quite harmless.


The problem with silica arises when it is in very tiny, crystalline particles and is airborne. When it is breathed in (in large quantities, over a long period of time), it can damage the lungs. Therefore lung damage by silica is most common in people like miners, or construction workers, who do not use adequate protection.


Thus your pill inserts of silica are perfectly fine. So, to the best of my knowledge, are all products that contain silica in a non-airborne form. Even if you kick up sand on the beach, you're not going to get the sort of exposure that workers do. However, if you take up a hobby like pottery, clay is made of silica so protection is a wise step to take to prevent lung damage.


For more information, see Causes of Scleroderma: Silica Exposure.

Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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It's silica "dust" that is harmful. Crafts such as stone carving (soapstone, etc) when sanding the stone creates dust which contains silica. Any clay based cat litter contains silica dust. It's a good idea to wear a "good" protective mask for anything where there is dust in the air which may contain silica.

Life is NOT meant to be a struggle. Life is meant to be joyously abundant.

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Back in the 70's I was the studio assistant for the ceramic department at my university. I mixed up the glazes in large quantities in a small closet with no ventilation, took raw silica and weighed it out on a scale and dumped it into a huge bucket, creating dust all over the place. Back then, no one knew to even wear a mask. However, my professor, who had much more exposure to silica over the years than I ever had, has not developed scleroderma. His wife was also a professor of ceramics and she died a couple of years ago from cancer. (?) I know several potters who were exposed much more than a normal person and never got sick. You can also develop a lung disease called silicosis from working with clay in it's powder state. I used to bring my dog with me at night to the studio and he would lay on the dusty floor with his nose right up against it. He developed trouble breathing and I took him to the vet who X-rayed his lungs and saw something out of the ordinary but didn't know what it was.



There are old posts on what caused your scleroderma. One is How many of you have been in contact with this? and another, Scleroderma Causes.


We've all been exposed to so many chemicals. A couple of years before I started teaching art, the teachers were having the kids carve something called "wonder clay." Ends up it was asbestos!


No one really knows, as I've quoted before "if you lawn turns brown, do you dig up the entire yard trying to find out why or do you just treat it?" (old counselor of mine)


It's good that you're asking questions on behalf of your sister and others.



ISN Artist

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