Solution Summary: Abrasive Blasting Media that Reduce Exposure to Silica
There are a wide variety of blasting media that can be used in place of silica sand. These may include coal slag, steel shot, glass, grit, walnut shells, and garnet. However, even though these materials do not contain silica, there can be crystalline silica in the base material being blasted. When impacted by the blasting media, the crystalline silica in the base material can become airborne. Milder blasting media like dry ice, baking soda, sponges, and water jets are silica-free and designed to minimize the dust created when the blasting medium strikes the surface of interest.
Sponge blasting involves shooting small pieces of specially made grit sponge at the surface of interest. As the pieces of sponge strike the surface, they adhere to and remove the top layer. Sponge blasting creates very little airborne dust, and the sponge pieces can often be reused. It also reduces the likelihood of ricochet.
SpongeJet® B-VAC™ Pro 4
Fully integrated, mobile system
Price: $100,000 (verified 5/7/19)
Photo courtesy of spongejet.com
Soda blasting is a gentle abrasive blasting method that uses sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) as the blasting medium. It is ideal for soft materials like wood and can also be used in restoration projects. It usually requires a much lower blasting pressure. Although the baking soda can’t be reused, it is non-toxic and biodegradable, and creates a much lower volume of waste than traditional sandblasting.
The Soda Works Buster Blaster 100 Mobile Unit
Fully integrated and mobile
Price: $42,500 (verified 5/7/19)
Courtesy of sodaworks.com
How Risks are Reduced:
Effects on Productivity:
Using a silica-free abrasive blasting medium that reduces dust can improve visibility and accuracy.
Sara Brooks, MPH - CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training
Mike Kassman, MAHP, CHST, PA-AIC, APT: CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training
Alan Echt, MPH, DrPH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
- Pipes & Vessels
- Perform abrasive blasting