September 6, 2011
MADISON - The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has released a study describing what is currently known about the sources, emissions and health effects from exposure to crystalline and amorphous forms of silica.
Studies generally do not indicate the existence of any wide-spread significant concern about airborne crystalline silica exposures to individuals not living near an identified source. Many states address silica by using control of particulate matter as a surrogate for reducing silica emissions.
"Silica emissions in Wisconsin have been controlled to a great extent through existing state particulate matter regulations for 40 years," said Bill Bauman, acting DNR air bureau director. "The DNR is confident that consistent implementation and compliance with existing particulate matter regulations will reduce silica emissions."
While silica emissions are commonly associated with mining, emissions can be generated from a variety of sources including agriculture, wind blown soil and various commercial products. Despite this fact, the DNR is actively engaged with the mining community to provide more specific guidance regarding compliance with existing air regulations. Truck traffic associated with the sand industry, a common issue of concern for many local residents, is predominantly local zoning issues.
The study was sent to the Natural Resources Board and the department has planned a briefing for the October board meeting.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Baumann - (608) 267-7542