Quartz and cristobalite in raw materials and products in the ceramics industry

Project No. IFA 2070


completed 12/2011


Products are manufactured in the ceramics industry that are used in the most diverse sectors. Quartz or cristobalite may be present in varying quantities in both the products themselves and the various raw materials used for their manufacture. Since in some cases only patchy data are available on these quantities, a systematic survey is to be conducted in various areas of the ceramics industry. This information is to be used to support risk assessment of possible exposure during the manufacture or use of products in or from the ceramics industry. The results will also be useful for retrospective analyses, for example for the purpose of epidemiological studies.


Representative products are selected from various areas of the ceramics industry (beginning with the porcelain industry) during a measurement campaign. Samples were taken and analysed both of the products themselves and of the raw materials used for their production (and, where beneficial, also from semi-finished products). Where dictated by their properties, the samples must first be grinded. The mass fraction of quartz and cristobalite is determined from the pulverized samples. For powder or granulate materials, the quartz and cristobalite fraction in the alveolar fraction and the particle-size distribution are also determined. The data obtained in this way for specific materials can be linked to existing exposure data for the area of ceramic product manufacture (refer to the data collection in BGIA Report 8/2006).


In the course of the project, the measuring service of the VBG (the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the administrative sector) obtained material samples from raw materials and products in a number of plants, in all cases from the area of porcelain manufacture. The samples were examined at the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (IFA) in order for their quartz and cristobalite fractions to be determined. For raw materials in powder form, these fractions were determined both in the original form of the material and in its alveolar fraction. It has not yet been possible to analyse samples from other areas of the ceramics industry. The results are available for use by the prevention services of the accident insurance institutions during their support of the companies. Extension of the project to other areas of the ceramics industry, as originally planned, would be desirable. Owing to time constraints, however, the initiator was unable to do this during this project.

Last Update:

23 Jan 2013


Financed by:
  • Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung e. V. (DGUV)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

Arbeitsbedingte Gesundheitsgefahren, Gefahrstoffe


Stäube, Fasern, Partikeln, Exposition, Gefährdungsbeurteilung

Description, key words:

ceramics industry, quartz, quartz content, cristobalite, cristobalite content, porcelain, risk assessment