James Hardie® products contain crystalline silica. This mineral is found everywhere in the world – often in the form of sand – and therefore often a component of many construction products such as brick, stone, concrete, glass wool and abrasives. The mineral itself is harmless, but certain building practices such as drilling, high speed cutting and abrading can release fine particulate dust which may constitute a health hazard if appropriate safety measures are not being taken. Excessive or protracted inhalation of fine particle silica dust can lead to a lung disease called silicosis. There is also some evidence that it may increase the risk of lung cancer if inhaled for prolonged periods of time. Smoking may also exacerbate this risk. Like smoking the risk from fine particle silica dust is time and concentration dependent. To suppress or to reduce excessive inhalation of fine particle silica dust, the following steps should be taken to protect operatives who work with products containing silica dust:
For more information on working with silica, please see our best practice guide: Working safely with fibre cement products.
Remember: James Hardie products are no more dangerous than many other building materials containing crystalline silica sand. We hope through this information to engage in effective education of the construction industry and build upon the requirements of national health and safety regulations.
For more information, see our installation instructions and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available: