Crystalline silica is a common mineral that is found in construction materials such as sand, stone, concrete, brick, and mortar. When workers cut, grind, drill, or crush materials that contain crystalline silica, very small dust particles are created. These tiny particles (known as “respirable” particles) can travel deep into workers’ lungs and cause silicosis, an incurable and sometimes deadly lung disease. Respirable crystalline silica also causes lung cancer, other potentially debilitating respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney disease. In most cases, these diseases occur after years of exposure to respirable crystalline silica.