Dust control methods are methods used to control particulate matter emissions from land surfaces.

Dust consists of small airborne particles and occurs primarily due to wind and traffic movements

The severity of influence on health depends on the type of dust, concentration, exposure duration, etc. Apart from disturbing respiratory system processes by mechanical properties of particles, dust also has a negative influence due to its chemical characteristics. Dust can be toxic to a certain extent if it contains metal, PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), other organic compounds, endotoxin, etc. These compounds can be contained in almost every type of dust: soil dust, construction dust, dust from mines and quarries, etc. The possible precise consequences of dust exposure in everyday life are hard to determine. Therefore, dust control is crucial for human health protection. Besides the impact on human health, dust decreases visibility in traffic and work sites, contaminates surrounding environment, contributes to the deterioration of roads by mitigating from the road surface, etc.


Chemical products used for dust suppression include water, products manufactured specifically as dust suppressants, natural or synthetic compounds, and waste or by-products from other uses and manufacturing processes. The products are usually provided as a concentrate. Water dilution for application varies from 1:1 to 1:20 depending on the type of dust suppressant and site conditions.

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Water is the most widely used dust suppressant. Single application has a very short-lasting effect, so watering is a meaningful method if dust control is needed for a short period. The application rate is important since a heavy application may turn the road into the mud and thus destroy the soil structure and make it non-suitable as a sub-grade.

Salts and brines applications are the next most common dust control methods. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are the major products in this group. Calcium chloride is a by-product of the ammonia-soda process and a joint product from natural salt brines. Magnesium chloride is produced through seawater evaporation or from industrial by-products. These dust control methods stabilize the soil surface by absorbing atmospheric moisture, so it is critical for a target region to have sufficient humidity levels of 30-80%.

Many dust control methods involve petroleum derivatives such as mineral oil and Vaseline. They are both produced from highly refined crude oil. The drawbacks are that they evaporate and break down quickly, and are expensive. Also in the petroleum category are waxes, which are sprayed onto the surface to form a bond with sand particles. They are also prone to evaporation and UV breakdown, and additionally to melting.

Applications of vegetable oils such as soybean, cottonseed and canola oil are common dust control methods. These substances are environmentally safe and biodegradable. However, they also evaporate easily and thus are short-lasting solutions.

Both petroleum-based and vegetable oils are applicable when used on a surface that is all or mostly sand. Mixing oil with a soil that has a high content of silt and clay will produce a slick mess. As with water, frequent light applications are needed.

Many years of research on Global Road Technology made dust control methods environment-friendly and cost-effective. GRT offers dust control products applicable and effective under extreme conditions. Costs savings of 30-40% are accomplished due to the removal of daily watering and grading, less wear and tear on vehicles, improved haul times, elimination of downtime during and after wet weather (independently verified by Deloitte). GRT products are certified environment-friendly by Environmental Resource Management (ERM).

For more information regarding Global Road Technology or dust control methods please contact us.