Precious gems that go in jewelry have to be harder than a 7 on the Mohs scale due to quartz being the hardest airborne mineral and would scratch them, so does that mean we breathe in quartz on the daily and our lungs don’t mind?

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Precious gems that go in jewelry have to be harder than a 7 on the Mohs scale due to quartz being the hardest airborne mineral and would scratch them, so does that mean we breathe in quartz on the daily and our lungs don’t mind?

In: Biology

3 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Unless you are by a nearby volcanic eruption, there just aren’t natural processes which make silica grains fine enough for you to breathe in and be dangerous. Obviously it’s not good if you breathe in sand sized particles of silica either, but much these would typically get stuck in your mouth or throat before making it to your lungs. Also, it’s easy to see when there is a sandstorm and take appropriate measures, ie. stay inside or [wrap up](https://i.imgur.com/ASPXRMq.jpg).

It’s pretty much just a industrial settings where very fine silica particles are a hazard, and those places *should* be giving their workers appropriate safety wear.

One of the reasons why certain asbestos minerals are a hazard is because they can easily break apart into very fine fibres, just through regular handling without any industrial process. Exposure to certain asbestiform mineral fibres has been linked to lung cancer, similar to the dangers described in the article you linked.

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