It’s hard to believe that the Enviro-Works team is on the verge of celebrating its 20th anniversary! Since 2000, our Edmonton, Alberta-based, independently-owned, third party laboratory has provided consulting firms, government agencies, the oil & gas industry, remediation companies, renovation companies and residential clients all over Western Canada with an incomparable and vitally important service. That service is environmental and industrial hygiene testing in the area of indoor air quality and industrial hygiene.

What makes our analytical testing so essential?

Well, you know what they say about our health, right? There’s nothing more important! And when it comes to indoor air quality, it’s integral for it to be as pure as possible. After all, it’s necessary for us all to breathe in order to live. We spend a great deal of time indoors, both at home and at work. If we’re not breathing clean air, we’re setting ourselves up for health complications.

This is especially important for individuals who work in the construction industry. For them, outdoor air quality is just as important. This is mainly because on industrial and construction sites, workers are particularly susceptible to the dangers of crystalline silica. In fact, over 2.2 million North Americans, including roughly 380,000 Canadians, primarily in the construction sector, are exposed to silica at their work sites.

What is silica?

It is one of the most common minerals in the earth’s crust. Glass, soil, sand, silicone and granite are all examples of silica materials. There are two types of silica: crystalline and non-crystalline. Crystalline silica is a concern because of the impact it can have on our lungs. There are three forms of crystalline silica: cristobalite, tridymite and the most popular form, quartz. It can be found in sand, gravel, clay, granite and several other forms of rock.

Classified as a human lung carcinogen, crystalline silica is a known cause of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, lung cancer and silicosis, which can be contracted after only a few months of high exposure. When silica dust enters the lungs, it can cause the formation of scar tissue. This reduces the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen. Since there’s no cure, silicosis can prove to be a fatal disease.

Who is most at risk of crystalline silica exposure?

Construction workers who are the most at risk of crystalline silica exposure include those who work in the areas of abrasive blasting, mining, quarrying, brick laying, demolition, stonecutting, rock drilling and tunnelling. “The most common way workers get exposed to silica is by inhaling the dust when they chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain crystalline silica,” explains the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, “If this dust is inhaled it can cause serious respiratory tract diseases.”

Understanding just how much your workers may be exposed to crystalline silica is integral to keeping them safe. This is where the Enviro-Works team can help!

We are proud to be one of very few accredited labs in all of Canada that offer accredited respirable silica testing in-house. In fact, Enviro-Works is the only lab in western Canada to offer in-house respirable crystalline silica testing and one of the only labs in North America to offer the low detection limits we provide for our clients.

For more information about our respirable silica testing, please don’t hesitate to call us at 780-457-4652 or email us at