In 2015, the Gypsum Association engaged the services of R.J. Lee, a third-party analytical laboratory and scientific consulting firm to perform a study to characterize emissions and collect data on personal breathing zone and area airborne exposure to respirable crystalline silica when sizing 5/8-inch type X gypsum board for installation. Each of the Gypsum Association’s seven member companies provided samples directly to R.J. Lee’s laboratory for the purposes of the study. This study used accepted sampling methods to determine if airborne respirable crystalline silica is a potential concern when sizing drywall.
The study does not provide a means of relieving contractors from their monitoring obligations under the Final Rule to Protect Workers from Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica. It is important to note, that the results of the Gypsum Association’s 2015 Silica Study do not calculate exposure according to a time-weighted average as mandated by the Rule. Moreover, the highly controlled setting necessary for measuring silica emissions from various cutting methods does not reflect exposures on construction sites, where a variety of distinct work activities may be taking place simultaneously, generating a variety of dust emissions that must be addressed per the rule.