Why Not Sandblasting?
We have two basic reasons for not using silica sand for cleaning and coating removal.
1. TOO AGGRESSIVE FOR MOST APPLICATIONS
Most of our inquiries start out with the phrase “ I need something sandblasted”. In actual fact, what the individual or company really wants is something cleaned or a coating removed. For about 95% of our inquiries, sand is too aggressive of a blast media. We have heard countless horror stories regarding something that’s been sandblasted – automobile body panels that have been warped and now require body filler, bricks that have been severely profiled when paint or graffiti has been removed, swimming pools that require major repair due to over blasting with sand, aluminum that’s been pitted, fiberglass boat hulls torn up, and the list goes on and on. While we realize that a really good operator can alleviate some of this, we feel that silica sand, due to it’s relative hardness of 7, is always “on the edge” of doing damage to most everything except heavy steel. Our blast medias range from about 2.5 to 4 in relative hardness, just about perfect for your blasting projects.
2. HEALTH HAZARD
Silica sand generally contains about 90% to 95% crystalline silica – the International Agency for Research on Cancer has concluded that “crystalline silica inhaled in the form of quartz or cristobalite from occupational sources is carcinogenic ( cancer causing) to humans (Group 1”)
The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration, states that “the most severe worker exposures to crystalline silica results from sandblasting”
Information from NIOSH – National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health states that “the use of crystalline silica was banned for most blast-cleaning operations in Great Britain in 1950 (Factories Act of 1949) and in other European countries in 1966. In 1974, NIOSH recommended that silica sand be prohibited for use as an abrasive blasting material and that less hazardous materials be substituted for silica sand during abrasive blasting.”
In a article circa 1995, the US Geological Survey an unbiased, multi-disciplinary science organization stated that “California, Louisiana, Ohio, Utah, the Port of Houston, and the U.S. Navy have banned sandblast products with more than 1% silica.” Remember that silica sand contains about 90% to 95% crystalline silica!
A recent conversation with a major blast media supplier confirms that silica sand is still being widely used as a blast media in southern Ontario. I don’t know why silica sand hasn’t been discontinued as a blast media, but you will not find it being used as a blast media at
We have so many great blast medias that are much better suited to the task aggresiveness wise, plus they’re Eco-friendly as well, so we see absolutely no reason to consider using silica sand in our blasting operations.
services Southern and Central Ontario, serving Toronto ( GTA ), Hamilton, Burlington, Kitchener, Waterloo, London, Oakville, Mississauga, Brampton, Barrie, Georgetown, Acton, Guelph, Woodbridge, Richmond Hill, Ajax, Oshawa, Milton and other neighboring areas. We are available throughout Ontario and beyond, depending on the project. Please inquire about your particular project.