The Cancer Council has issued a warning to home renovators and tradies after new estimates suggest that hundreds of cases of lung cancer each year stem from exposure on the job.
The failure to protect from silica dust put tradespeople at a high risk of health problems, given the daily exposure to the fine dust.
Silica is found in clay, bricks, tiles, concrete, rock and stone, and is 100 times smaller than a grain of sand.
It is released when materials are cut, however there are methods of mitigating exposure.
"We estimate, based on a study published in 2011, that about 600,000 Australian workers are exposed to silica dust and there are methods of mitigating that exposure," Cancer Council Australia occupation and environmental cancer risk committee chairman Terry Slevin said, reports the Daily Telegraph.
"There is people in the mining game, the construction game, the renovation game, road building and construction, sandblasting, there is a large number of jobs where people are likely to be exposed to silica."