What is Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis?

When I was in fifth grade, one of our extra credit projects was learning the above word. For a ten year old, anyone really, learning to pronounce and spell this word was quite the task. It was by far the longest word any of us had heard.  In fact, it’s still the longest word in a major dictionary.  At the time, we learned it was a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust.  Little did I know that many years later I would be discussing this word on a world wide web of computers. If you haven’t heard this word before, maybe you’ve heard of crystalline silica.  If not, I’m quite positive you’ve seen clay or kitty litter.  The latter, along with Diatomaceous Earth (DE), all contain some levels of crystalline silica.  These three have all been used as common sorbents for many years.  In fact, they’ve pretty much become the standard due to their low cost and easy availability. But what is the real cost? As I mentioned earlier, these sorbents contain crystalline silica. For years, crystalline silica has been known to be a human carcinogen, meaning it can cause cancer.  This was published by the IARC in 1987.  Further warnings have been issued by OSHA, ACGIH and NIOSH. When a person inhales crystalline silica, the lung develops scar tissue around the silica particles. This process results in a lung disease known commonly as silicosis. As more lung tissue is damaged by silica dust, breathing becomes more difficult, chest pain occurs, and death may result. Silicosis patients suffer shortness of breath, fever, and cyanosis. So why take the chance? Why not use an absorbent that works better, is cheaper to use, and won’t leave you with serious side effects? XSORB is just that product! By the way, I did get that extra credit!

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