FINE DUST COMES IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES. WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Posted on 11 September 2019
Every day we talk about particulate matter. Particulate matter is regularly the subject of discussion on the news and in current affairs programs. You cannot open the newspaper or you will come across headlines such as “CARE FOR CLASSES FULL OF FINE FABRIC” or “FINE FABRIC: DANGEROUS FOR LIFE!”
Fine dust comes in all shapes and sizes, also in the workplace. If you and your colleagues are exposed to (fine) dust during work, then protective measures must have been taken. It is good to know which substances you come into contact with and what the risks are in the long term. You can often see dust with the naked eye, but a lot of dust is hardly visible: particulate matter. The air in which you work contains dust, a collection of particles. These particles differ in size. By fine dust is meant the dust whose maximum diameter of particles is 10 µm – or also called PM10. PM stands for particulate matter and the number stands for the maximum size of dust particles. In this case 10 micrometers (one thousandth of a millimeter). In every industrial space or production space, people have to deal with dust, fine dust, wood dust, dry dust or dust consisting of skin chip residues, bacteria and fungi. Roughly, this pollution can be divided into three different sizes: smaller than 0.1 micrometer, smaller than PM2.5 and smaller than PM10.
Fine dust, wood dust and dry dust in industrial spaces
In the environment where you work, fine dust can occur in various forms. Whether it is dangerous to health depends on the type of air pollution and the concentration of fine dust or dry dust. Someone who works in construction or woodworking has to deal with quartz dust. Quartz dust is released during work such as sawing, milling and drilling. Quartz is mentioned on the list of carcinogens. There are therefore rules for this harmful substance and you can read more about it in the working conditions catalogs from the central government of the netherlands. Regardless of the long-term consequences, particulate matter in workshops, production areas and industrial spaces also causes short-term complaints. Think of runny nose, sneezing, coughing, shortness of breath and eye irritation. Itching, skin rashes or eczema are also common complaints from working in an environment of (fine) dust or dry dust.
What can you do about dry dust and fine dust
If you work in an industrial area where a lot of fine dust, dry dust, coarse dust is released, then your safety must be paramount. Then through a professional dust extractor or air cleaner and good personal protective equipment. But also check whether there is a labor catalog for the industry in which you work. It describes measures against various risks. This may include fine dust, industrial dust, dry dust. Furthermore, ensure that the workplace is as clean as possible and use source extraction on your tool or work table.
Make sure you can breathe with relief and know the consequences of working with air pollution and hazardous substances. Do you want more information? Are you interested in an air measurement to map the air pollution in your workplace? Send us an email !
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