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Crystalline silicon dioxide has been associated with pulmonary lung disease. A number of descriptive terms such as “amorphous silica,” “free silica,” “silica flour,” and “fumed silica” have arisen in the literature as a result of studies related to health and the silicon dioxide forms. The definition of these terms has been the result of limitations (both analytical and physical) in qualitative and quantitative analytical methods, as well as definitions associated with the type of manufacturer or process producing the silicon dioxide. X-ray diffraction and typical mineralogical nomenclature are relevant for the definition of crystalline silicon dioxide polymorphs, but other silicon dioxide materials require alternative techniques for analytical definition of those properties which may be health related.
health-related silicates, quartz, cristobalite, tridymite, silicon dioxide, silica, particles
Associate professor, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.