Super Bowl of Silica?

The Super Bowl is today, and it reminded me of a message I received from a safety connection a couple of weeks ago. I post a lot about lung health and silica as it relates to construction, so people actually reach out to me frequently on the topic!

My connection, told me that his concrete crew was using a product to mark their layouts, called “athletic field marker.”


He was curious to read up on the product. It turns out that it is a silicate-based powder (limestone), that actually wasn’t the best product for the task the crew was performing – spray paint would be easier to control.


Close up of some warnings printed on the bag of the Quikrete Athletic Field Marker.

The concern we then discussed is exposure for kids that play football, baseball, softball, soccer, and other sports where the field boundaries are marked. Often, kids are sliding into a base or making a tackle (or getting tackled) and get the powdered field marker in their mouth or eyes, and then take it home with them on their uniforms and practice gear.

The Safety Data Sheet for the Quikrete Athletic Field Marker indicates that there are indeed acute and chronic impacts related to exposure.

Screen Shot 2020-02-02 at 2.41.01 PM.png

Excerpt from the Safety Data Sheet for Quikrete Athletic Field Marker.

This is a perfect example of analyzing the task and looking for an alternative product, the best available product, that won’t add more hazards than benefit. Also, consider how this product would be treated in a workplace setting… it would be part of HazCom training, a SDS on site, and discussed during a pre-task plan meeting.

I did a quick search and found some alternatives for marking fields, including this product that advertises it has been tested and used in World Cup soccer stadiums, among other professional and collegiate settings. Another product, Brite Stripe is made of a “trade secret” mix of Titanium Dioxide and Calcined Kaolin, a non-hazardous mixture that requires eye protection when mixing or applying the paint, per the SDS.

What do you think? Have you used the Quikrete product on your jobsites? Do you see school or parks staff applying it to the playing fields in your neighborhood or district?

Now you’re empowered to say something and ask why the product is used when non-hazardous alternatives are available.

Want to streamline your safety inspections? Check out the Safety Reports app, it’s what I use!

Leave a Reply