Dust is generated from mechanical processes, vehicular movements, stockpiling, blasting, and bulk material handling operations of mining, quarrying, civil construction sectors amongst many others. Dust management, prevention, and control can be a challenge, especially if dust is not dealt with at its source. Once the dust is airborne, it is dispersed over long distances from its source, and the smaller the fractions the greater the tendency to be inhaled and lodged in the deepest parts of the lungs. The factors that contribute to dust generation include:

  • Parent material
  • How it disintegrates 
  • Particle sizes generated 
  • Moisture content in the parent source 
  • Machinery used 
  • Dust control and dust suppression method used 
  • Wind speed and direction 
  • How material is handled and processed

Global Road Technology (GRT) provides effective dust control and dust suppression methods at the source of the dust to prevent it from being airborne and as a secondary corrective measure once the dust becomes airborne. In this article, GRT answers the question – Why is dust harmful? 

What are the biological effects of dust and the reasons why it is harmful?

In understanding the biological effects of dust, we ought to answer the question what are the effects of dust on the lungs and in doing so address why dust is harmful? – The major effects of dust on the lungs are:

  • Sensitizes the lungs. 
  • Scars the lungs.
  • Infects the lungs.
  • Damages the lungs.
  • Causes lung diseases and cancers. 

After having understood the effects of dust on the lungs, let’s take a step further to look at the biological reaction of the lungs to dust. The biological reaction in the lungs happens as follows: 

  1. Attack of dust by white blood cells called macrophages.
  2. Macrophages engulf the dust particles.
  3. Macrophages digest the dust particles.
  4. Macrophages neutralize the dust particles.
  5. Also produces proteins that attach to dust particles to neutralize them. 

What GRT can do to prevent the harmful effects of dust? 

Dealing with dust at its source is imperative to save lives. Our mandate is to create safer workplaces for people, industry, and communities. GRT implements best practices for dust control and dust suppression in different applications.

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

These are some of the GRT products from the GRT marketplace which are utilized to prevent the effects of harmful dust through preventative and corrective dust mitigation:

  • GRT: Haul-Loc 
  • GRT: Wet-Loc 
  • GRT: DC Binder 
  • GRT: 12X
  • GRT: Enviro-Binder 
  • GRT: Soil-Loc
  • GRT: Rubble-Loc

What are the sources and types of dust?

There are different sources of dust, but all have the same fatal ending. Sources of dust are specific to the type of dust-generating activity. For example, in open-cut mining, dust is an unavoidable consequence of many of the tasks that are intrinsically part of the industry. Is there a “Safe” amount of dust exposure? – NO

The common sources of dust in mining are: 

  • Drill and blast operations 
  • Excavation and loading 
  • Haul road operations 
  • Material processing 
  • Ore handling 
  • Material transfer 
  • Stockpiling 
  • Workshop areas 

Types of dust vary according to the parent material and dust is not only limited to mining, quarrying, and civil construction. Dust is also present in trade work, woodwork, farming, and sewage treatment plants. The types of dust to be wary of include but are not limited to:

  • Silica dust 
  • Coal dust
  • Asbestos dust
  • Wood dust 
  • Aluminum dust 
  • Beryllium dust
  • Tungsten, tungsten carbide, and cobalt dust
  • Cotton dust 
  • Iron dust 
  • Tin dust 
  • Barium dust 
  • Talc dust 
  • Organic dust 
  • Droppings and feather dust 
  • Moldy sugar cane dust 
  • Compost dust 
  • Heat-treated sludge dust 
  • Mould dust 

A matter of life and death

Ideally, the most effective method of reducing dust exposure is by suppressing or controlling dust at its source before it becomes airborne. Dust is manageable! The severity of the dust problem is determined by several factors given in the beginning. GRT plays the role of assessing what method best suits your unique scenario in providing preventative and corrective methods for dealing with dust. Why is dust harmful? – it is the fraction of dust particles you do not see that damages your lungs and goes on to kill you, so if ever you can see dust because it is not being dealt with at its source then it also means you are exposed to what you don’t see which is the most dangerous fraction that makes dust harmful. 




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