Last reviewed 15 October 2020

The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has shared some interesting facts and figures on the levels of silica found in common materials and products.

Silica dust is one of the oldest workplace hazards, dating back centuries, yet it continues to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths across the world, including many in the UK, every year.

The health and safety professional body recently asked on social media how much silica can be found in common substances such as bricks, tiles and concrete:

  • Bricks can be composed of up to 30% silica

  • Tiles: between 30% and 45%

  • Granite: 20% to 45% silica

  • Plastic composites: 19% to 90% silica

  • Concrete/mortar: anywhere from 25% to as much as 70%

  • Sandstone can contain 70% to 90%, with shale containing between 40% and 60% and slate between 20% and 40%.

The figures were shared as part of IOSH’s No Time to Lose campaign which focuses on preventing work-related cancers.