In order to help protect workers from Silicosis, a dust disease of the lung, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today announced the beginning of a statewide local emphasis program in Kansas to reduce employee exposure to crystalline silica, the main cause of the disease.Silica is a general term for the compound silicon dioxide (SiO2). Crystalline silica is the basic component of sand, quartz and granite rock. Inhalation of dusts that contain crystalline silica has also been associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and lung cancer. High silica exposures have been found at counter top fabrication facilities as well as other businesses performing similar tasks on stone products. Worker exposure to silica-containing dust is dependent on a number of factors, including the amount of crystalline silica in the material, the specific tools being used, the amount of dust being generated by the tasks being performed with the material, and the use of measures, such as wet methods or ventilation, to control the amount of dust reaching the breathing zone of the worker. OSHA said its office in Wichita will randomly select for inspection, general industry workplaces where exposures to crystalline silica are possible due to such tasks as grinding, cutting, routing, drilling, chipping, or polishing on granite and other stone materials containing crystalline silica.