In 1981, a worker at the Maxwell House coffee factory in Houston died from what was reported at the time to be "bronchial asthma." She was 46, a mother of three. In 1982, another worker at the plant died — from the same thing.
Each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading causes of death – yet 20 percent to 40 percent of the deaths from each cause could be prevented, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
At least 1.7 million U.S. workers are exposed to respirable crystalline silica in industries and occupations including construction, sandblasting, and mining, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.