Potential hazards of airborne contaminants

From our friends at Powder Bulk Solids, and the "Ask the Expert" blog, and Rob Williamson at Dantherm, a question about the potential hazards or airborne contaminants and dust collection.

Dust Collection & Pollution Control Q&A

  Question: What are the potential hazards of the airborne contaminants that are removed by dust collection?

Answered August 31st, 2010 by Expert: Rob Williamson
Dust collection removes airborne contaminants, such as dust, mist and fumes from the work environment. The airborne particles created by cutting, shaping and grinding are more than a nuisance, they can be a serious health hazard to both health and safety if not properly controlled. Here are some of the potential problems of which you should be concerned:
Respiratory effects are the primary health concern. Inhaling excessive dust, mist or fumes can cause nasal irritation and bleeding, inflammation of the sinuses, wheezing, prolonged colds and decreased lung function. You can also develop an allergy and asthma from repeated exposure to certain airborne contaminants.
Skin and eye effects are also possible. Dermatitis, an inflammation of the skin, can occur from repeated contact. Symptoms can include itching, redness or cracking of the skin. These contaminants can also cause eye irritation.
Certain airborne contaminants are known human carcinogens. Occupational exposure can cause cancer of the sinuses and nasal cavities.

I would also add that in industrial processing these airborne contaminants in many cases are also combustible.  Proper dust collection system design, controls and housekeeping, as well as safety and protection systems are required.


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