Monthly Archives: June 2017

Time lapse of clouds, rain storms and dust storms

Photographer and filmmaker Mike Olbinski shot 85,000 frames at 8K resolution to make this 7-minute time-lapse film of storms of all shapes and sizes doing their thing. Just slip on the headphones, put the video on fullscreen, and then sit back & watch. A tonic for these troubled times.



Found at

I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!  Chris.

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Dust Pneumonia

What Are Symptoms of Dust Pneumonia

Dust pneumonia is an acute type of respiratory distress that can develop into an infection of the lungs. Typically, it is brought on by excessive exposure to dust and dirt inhalation. Most dust and dirt if inhaled in trace or small amounts will safely pass through the lungs with the assistance of the cilia (tiny hairs in the lungs). With a case of dust pneumonia, the dust travels deep into the alveoli preventing the cilia from moving the dirt through—leading to infection, possible respiratory failure and lung damage. Dust pneumonia is caused from over exposure to airborne dust and dirt particles such as a dust storm or dirt turned up by wind.


One of the initial symptoms of dust pneumonia is coughing. The cough is the body’s natural response to forcing dirt and debris out of the airways and lungs. Beginning as a dry cloth, the lungs work against the debris and uses mucus to attempt to force the dirt and particles out. Once dust and dirt enter the lungs, cilia are unable to move freely and combat the particles out of the body allowing the dirt to take over. Debris then rests inside of the lungs and can even cause the cilia to stop moving. This is when infection is likely to set in. Initially, heavy mucus is coughed up along with the dirt giving it a mud-like appearance. Mucus may also begin to turn yellow and green.


Wheezing is another symptom of dust pneumonia. Wheezing is a type of whistling sound that is heard each time someone takes a deep breath. As a symptom of dust pneumonia, wheezing is caused by the buildup of fluid and debris in the lungs. The wheezing is caused from the air passages inside the lungs constricting—making it more difficult to breathe.

Chest Pain

Chest pain is a typical symptom of dust pneumonia. The chest pain can be caused from the additional debris inside of the air passageways or lungs or it can be caused from constriction or both. Chest pain is a very serious sign of advanced pneumonia and should be an indication to seek medical help immediately. Pain can occur when coughing, breathing deeply or when the body is lying down.


Fever is a sign of advanced lung pneumonia. Any fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit should be evaluated by a physician—especially if other symptoms such as cough, colored mucus and wheezing are present. The fever is one of the first indications that there is an infection present. Fever is the body’s natural way of fighting off an infection or other foreign substances in the body.

Septic Shock

Septic shock is an advanced symptom and condition caused by dust pneumonia. Septic shock is caused when an infection spreads into the blood stream or other parts of the body—causing the body and its organs to eventually shut down. This is a life-threatening condition that develops once an advanced infection in the lungs has spread to other parts of the body. The patient must be hospitalized and placed on a high dosage of antibiotics and fluids to assist with recovery.

Dust Pneumonia

LiveStrong – for more information

Have a great day!

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Illnesses from Dust

Lung damage caused by rock and mineral dust is a major health problem. Whether you are mining underground or above ground, you may develop lung damage if:

  • dust covers your clothes, body, and equipment as you work.
  • you cough a lot and have trouble breathing.
A man using a jackhammer wears a mask and gloves. A man working nearby does not and is coughing.

Once dust has damaged the lungs, there is no way to reverse the damage. Dust is a threat both to mineworkers and to communities near mines.

The most dangerous kinds of dust are coal dust, which causes black lung disease, and silica dust, which causes silicosis. Dust that contains asbestos (which causes asbestosis) or heavy metals is also dangerous.

Signs of lung damage

Dust from mining can make it difficult to breathe. Large amounts of dust can make the lungs fill with fluid and swell up. Signs of lung damage from dust include:

  • shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing
  • coughing up green or yellow sputum (mucus that comes up from the lungs)
  • sore throat
  • bluish skin at ears or lips
  • fever
  • chest pain
  • loss of appetite
  • tiredness

Black lung disease, silicosis, and asbestosis, are serious conditions with no cure. It is best to prevent exposure to harmful dust. Because these diseases worsen very quickly, by the time you have signs all you can do is keep the disease from getting worse. If you have any of the signs above, or have been exposed to these kinds of dust, see a health worker right away.

Because smoking greatly increases the risk of lung damage from dust, it is particularly important that miners do not smoke tobacco.

Black lung disease and silicosis

Black lung is caused when coal dust blocks the lungs, causing severe and permanent breathing problems. Underground coal miners, and children and women who work separating rocks from coal, are most affected by black lung.

Silicosis is caused by exposure to silica dust. Silica is a common mineral released from sand and rocks during mining, exposing many miners to harm.

Illnesses from Dust

Black lung and silicosis cannot be cured. But you can reduce the suffering they cause.

  • Drink plenty of water to help loosen mucus from the lungs.
  • Keep breathing passages open. Fill a bowl with steaming hot water and strong-smelling herbs such as eucalyptus, oregano, mint, or thyme. Put your head over the bowl, cover yourself with a towel or cloth, and breathe the vapors. Do this for 15 minutes at a time, several times a day.
  • Medicines called bronchodilators can help open the breathing passages. The kinds that are inhaled work fastest.
  • Hospitals may give oxygen to help a person breathe more easily.
  • Home-made cough syrup can reduce painful coughing. Mix:
1 part honey 1 part lemon juice Take a teaspoonful
every 2 or 3 hours
  • Some people believe dairy foods like milk, cheese, and butter make mucus thicker and more difficult to cough up. If eating these foods makes you feel worse, avoid them as long as you can get good nutrition from other foods.
IMPORTANT! It is not true that drinking alcohol clears the lungs of dust. Drinking alcohol only makes health problems worse.
Thanks Hesperian Health Guides for this information!

Qld seeks to improve black lung screening with new standards

The Queensland government has introduced new accreditation standards for people conducting the compulsory lung function test on the state’s 30 000 coal miners, as part of its reform to tackle black lung disease.

“The new standards will ensure quality tests, so if a coal mine worker has lung function issues, those signs will be picked up immediately,” Natural Resources and Mines Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said on Wednesday.

“Early identification of black lung, or any other lung disease, is critical. Bringing spirometry tests up to world-class standard is another measure, on top of our compulsory chest X-ray reforms, to protect the health of our coal mine workers.”

The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand, the region’s leading lung health peak body, will develop the new standards, which will come into effect by the end of 2017.

These standards will set out clear requirements for medical practices conducting the tests, including training for staff members, spirometry testing and interpretation, spirometry equipment, and quality control.

Lynham said an independent body would be appointed to check standards and accredit medical practices conducting the tests.

The changes flow from the independent Monash University review into the Coal Mine Workers’ Health Scheme. As an immediate response to the review, practices have been required to meet the requirements set out in the QueenslandHealth guidelines.

However, the review recommended additional training for individuals conducting the tests, the use of accredited facilities, and ongoing quality assurance. The revised screening programme implements these recommendations.

Coal miners’ compulsory chest X-rays have been assessed at least twice since July, first by an Australian radiologist and then by US-based experts. By the end of this year, both checks will be done by qualified B-reader Australian radiologists.

“These important reforms will work in tandem with the dual-reading of coal mine workers’ chest X-rays to ensure lung health issues are identified early,” Lynham said.

Other reforms in place from the Monash review include coalcompanies providing dust monitoring data to the Mines Inspectorate every three months for publishing online, black lung becoming a notifiable disease, meaning miningcompanies must report known cases to the QueenslandMines Inspectorate, and coal mine workers permanently retiring from the industry being able to ask their employer for a retirement examination, including respiratory function and chest X-ray.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has welcomed the latest reforms, with CEO Ian Macfarlane saying the industry is fully cooperating with government to ensure the medical assessment system is improved and industry operates under best practice so that this disease is eradicated.

“Everyone involved wants to right the wrongs of the past and we want to make sure that we detect cases and this is a major step forward to correct what was previously deficient in the assessment of lung function,” Macfarlane said.

Since May 2015, 21 Queensland miners have been diagnosed with coal workers’ pneumoconiosis, which is caused by long-term exposure to respirable coal dust.

Article found at Mining Weekly

Hope you found these articles on Illnesses from Dust informative. Have a great day! Chris

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

National Academies Seeking Information on Coal Mine Dust

Representatives of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, coal mine operators and coal mine workers have been invited to present information at a meeting on coal mine dust next week in Charleston.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine said a committee is looking at the effectiveness of monitoring and sampling approaches that are used to guide decisions about controlling respirable coal mine dust and its exposure to mine workers.

The National Academies said in a news release that the committee is looking for input from coal miners on their experiences using continuous personal dust monitors in underground mines.

The open session of the meeting (ran) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 13 at the Marriott Charleston Town Center.

US News – information sourced.

Living in the dusty shadow of coal mining

AUSTRALIA’S resources boom is already generating a lot of dust, noise and fumes, and the amount stirred up is only going to increase, given plans by miners to double coal and iron ore extraction this decade.

Yet state and federal governments are doing surprisingly little to monitor and regulate these impacts on the people living in the shadow of mining and energy projects. While state governments require companies to submit voluminous environmental impact statements, designed to protect flora and fauna, less is being done to protect people.

From the time minerals are dug from the ground and shipped to port in open wagons to the time they leave our shores as exports, governments generally leave it to the companies concerned to monitor the harmful effects of toxic substances on people, and the reporting seems patchy.

Tanya Plant, a Queensland farmer and mother of two, worries about the effect the emissions from New Hope Corporation’s coal mine, located about 2km from her home, may be having on her family. Her two-year-old daughter has been having coughing fits and after successive trips to the doctor she has been told the causes may be “environmental”.

“It has been worrying to have one of our children coughing a lot for months. We are concerned about those really small particles, as well as things like heavy metals,” says Plant, who grew up on her Acland farm, west of Toowoomba, and obtained a PhD from Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar.

In fact, Plant, her husband, children and parents seem adversely affected by constant exposure to dust, noise and plumes of gases released by regular blasting.

“I’m uncomfortable telling too many people the details of all our health issues, but there are some worrying symptoms which seem to have been going on for quite a while and none of us seem as healthy as we should.

“I’m only 36 and had hoped and expected to continue to live an active life for some time yet, and to be able to raise our kids in a good environment to give them the best start and chance in life. This farm has been in my family for many generations and is very much a part of us. I can’t really picture a happy future without it, but I’m not sure whether we should live here any more.”

The permanent dust monitor recently installed on her property is a crude device: a plastic funnel that sits on top of a glass jar. In response to Plant’s requests, NHC measured fine particles known as PM10 on one occasion last year, but it is yet to forward the findings. In response to Plant’s complaints about noise levels, the company has taken readings but has refused to divulge some results.

When the company did the PM10 study last year, it appeared the officer from the Safety in Mines Testing and Research Station, a government agency, was contacted by an executive from New Hope while conducting the test and agreed to meet him immediately afterwards, Plant says.

But it is the smaller particles, known as PM2.5 and PM1, that health studies indicate are even more dangerous to human health, and these are not being measured at Acland, or in most other mining regions in Australia. A human hair is seven times the width of a PM10 particle, and 30 times that of a PM2.5. These ultra-fine particles are dangerous because they can become embedded in lungs or enter the bloodstream.

In response to questions from Inquirer, a New Hope spokesman declined to comment on why the company would not provide the results of dust and noise tests to Plant’s family. The company would not comment on the frequency of its testing for dust levels near the mine and its expansive coal dump near the town of Jondaryan, nor would it cite its evidence for using the crude jar and funnel for measuring dust.

But New Hope says it operates “above compliance” and provided the results of monthly noise tests carried out “at random times”. But these tests are different from those done when complaints are made, which the company won’t release.

The company says its dust monitoring is “above and beyond compliance”. It says the testing done by Simtars has ” consistently met government air quality requirements”. But the company tests only for PM10 particles, and the spokesman would not say how frequently they are carried out.

New Hope says it is investing “thousands of dollars” installing quieter reverse beepers on its vehicles, and it is trialling a muffler suppression system on its trucks, even though it is meeting all compliance levels.

The Queensland government has installed only two dust monitors near mining towns. One of its 29 permanent monitors is at Mt Isa, but the others are all based near major urban centres. Coal mining regions in the Bowen Basin and on the Darling Downs do not yet have permanent monitors in place, and the closest monitor to the Acland mine is at Toowoomba, more than 50km away.

The government has installed a monitor in the centre of the Bowen Basin coal mines at Moranbah, even though there are several other towns closer to the coal mines. The results from this temporary monitor are not published on the government’s air quality website. Instead they are reported “through a reference group”.

This contrasts with the NSW government, which has responded to community pressure and installed a network of 13 dust monitors in the Hunter Valley, although only three of them measure PM2.5 particles.

Queensland Environment Minister Vicky Darling says that in addition to the government’s monitoring, companies are required to report any hazardous impacts swiftly, as well as in an annual report. Executives who provide false and misleading information face penalties of up to $832,500 or two years’ imprisonment.

Darling defends the use of the funnel and glass jar as a device to measure “dust nuisance impacts”, essentially a crude measure of the sheer volume of material in the air.

The Plants live near the New Acland coal mine, which opened in 2002 as a small mine and has grown into a four million tonne a year operation. While still a modest mine by Australian standards, NHC has a plan before the state government to more than double production to 10 million tonnes a year, while also developing a pilot plant for coal-to-liquids technology.

The listed company’s ownership is tied to chemist chain Soul Pattinson. Washington H. Soul Pattinson owns 60 per cent of New Hope, and in turn owns 24 per cent of Australian Pharmaceutical Industries, which includes Soul Pattinson and Priceline.

While the existing mine is scheduled to be exhausted in 2018, the plan for a third-stage expansion would extend its life by a further 35 years and also mean double the amount of dust for nearby communities. It would come within 5km of the town of Oakey, population 3600.

Plant says the state government has made assurances about the proposed expansion being assessed through a rigorous EIS process, but the current stage of operations went through the same EIS processes. She says these don’t require monitoring of dust, noise or the rainwater consumed by people living just a few hundred metres from the mine’s main operations. Plant points out that people living in the settlement of Muldu, just 700m from the key mine operators, were not included in the EIS among the “sensitive receptors”, meaning people affected by the mine.

“It doesn’t give me confidence that the health of people near the mine is treated all that seriously,” Plant says. “There doesn’t seem to be much data available but even so, it doesn’t seem like noise and dust has always complied with the state standards. I have seen how black some of the rainwater collected from people’s roofs has been.”

A group of concerned doctors has written to federal and state ministers about the risks for the population near this mine. Doctors for the Environment, which includes Gustav Nossal on its scientific committee, says in a letter to federal Environment Minister Tony Burke that the expansion to a four million tonne annual operation had already subjected the surrounding population to “serious pollution which is likely to have affected their health and this situation has existed since 2006 when stage 2 commenced”.

Emeritus professor David Shearman told Burke it “beggars belief” that the company has not produced adequate data on PM2.5 levels and that of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, which are commonly found in high levels around coal mines.

“However the data that is presented, though inadequate, suggests that air quality has been unacceptable for some years,” he wrote.

While there has been limited research in Australia on the health effects of coal mining, Shearman pointed out that extensive studies in the US by the Physicians for Social Responsibility found people living in high coal-producing counties had higher rates of cardiopulmonary disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension and kidney disease compared with people in non-coal-producing counties.

Noise is also going largely unmeasured, despite its impact on human wellbeing.

Plant describes the noise as an almost constant irritant that her daughter sometimes describes as “that loud growly noise” as she puts her hands over her ears. “We often have to shut windows due to noise and even then some nights I haven’t been able to sleep for even a whole hour at any point. It is hard for the kids as they get woken too,” Plant says.

The risks to the surrounding population extend to the coal dump just 1km from the town of Jondaryan, and then all the way along the railway line to the port of Brisbane, where the coal is loaded on to ships.

From Jondaryan the coal is often trucked through Toowoomba by road to local power stations, but most of it is shipped via rail to export terminals in Brisbane. The coal moved in trucks is meant to be covered with tarpaulins (although locals have taken photographs of uncovered trucks), while the coal moved on trains is not required to be covered.

People who live along the railway lines, and in the towns, say the black soot on their roofs gets into their drinking water.

Peter Faulkner, who lives just 300m from the railway line, has black streaks on the plastic water tank he uses to collect drinking water. Another resident, 600m from the line, says her drinking water is being contaminated by soot from the train. When Inquirer visits her property, she shows a jar of black water produced from washing the soot from her roof.

Asked if he has considered obtaining an assessment from the government, Faulkner says he no longer trusts the institution.

“There’s no impartiality when it comes to assessing these mining projects,” he says. “The fact they seem to be covering everything up concerns me greatly. They have a duty of care towards us. They are not looking after us at all.”

The Australian – source of article

Hope you enjoyed the read!  Have a great day!


Coal Mine Dust

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Dust Monitoring Training Course


Dust watch cc ( conducted fallout dust monitoring training course in the Avenue Guest House ( Moreleta Park, Pretoria, South Africa from the 30th May to the 1st of June 2017. This is the second training course to be conducted in Pretoria this year. A total of 3 personnel attended the training: Maemo Levy Mashele, Yolandie Coetzee and Andries Koekemoer.

Figure 1: Trainees who attended the fallout dust monitoring course; from left, Maemo Levy Mashele, Yolandie Coetzee (middle) and Andries Koekemoer (right)

Figure 2: Table of trainees: Levy taking notes

Summary of the training as from the 30th May – 1st of June is as follows:

The training kick-started on Tuesday 30th of May 2017 with a theoretical presentation by Mr. Christopher Loans. The presentation was about fallout dust and how to collect it, settling velocity and shape of dust particles, calculating fallout dust monitoring results, trace elements analysis, as well as South African legislation interpretation.

Wednesday the 31st of May 2017 was a practical day where trainees were working with DustWatch Bucket units (Basic Operational Use of the DustWatch Units), filtering water from the buckets and collecting dust on filters for further analysis.

Figure 3: DustWatch Single Bucket Unit used for dust fallout collection.

The last day, Thursday the 1st of June was about learning to write Fallout Dust Reports and laboratorial procedures for data capture. An assessment test was written and all trainees performed outstandingly well.

Figure 4: Trainees writing an assessment test

Gallery of the training

Yolandie enjoying herself during the practicals

Andries filtering the fallout dust from a bucket



DustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring
082 875 0209 or 021 789 0847 (Chris)
083 308 4764 (Gerry)
0866 181 421 (Fax)
www.dustwatch.comDustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring


Trans-Pacific journey of atmospheric particles

Regular dust storms are sometimes powerful enough to reach across the Pacific Ocean and dim skies over North America. This 2005 Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor from the NASA OrbView-2 satellite detected a large dust storm over China. From April 29 until May 5, the satellite tracked the dust storm over the Pacific Ocean. Now PNNL researchers show that large dust particles can travel further than previously believed-and affect communities far from the source. Credit: Images courtesy of NASA Visible Earth: SeaWiFS images courtesy the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE


Puzzling skiers, occasional brownish-yellow plumes waft over Colorado ski resorts during winter and spring. Instead of wondering, researchers led by scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory decided to get to the bottom of the plumes’ source and content. Their research, now published in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences found that the plumes hold countless dust particles carried from remote desert areas in Asia and Africa-dust from thousands of miles away travels to the western United States by high-altitude winds over the Pacific Ocean. The researchers also found that the atmospheric lifetime of the larger-sized dust particles is longer than expected. Climate models had always assumed the largest particles would fall out and not be transported such long distances.

Many atmospheric processes, such as long-range transport of particles and their removal from the atmosphere by rain and snow, largely depend on the size of the particle. Just by their size, large particles are seemingly more susceptible to this removal than smaller ones. Climate models use a simplified representation of these complex and size-dependent processes for efficiency’s sake. In particular, climate model’s predict that the dust particles with large sizes may remain suspended in the atmosphere only over relatively short distances, traveling only hundreds of miles away from their origin.

This study provides new insight into the evolution of large dust particles during their trans-Pacific voyage from Asia and Africa. The surprising conclusion is that these particles may remain suspended in the atmosphere much longer and travel for remarkably larger distances-thousands rather than hundreds of miles as the models predict. The results provide important data for scientists to fine-tune the models with the most recent understanding of atmospheric transport.

PNNL researchers teamed with collaborators from the University of Nevada, University of Wisconsin, Desert Research Institute, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to identify and characterize a major dust event at the high-elevation research sites in Colorado using an integrated, ground-based dataset of aerosol properties and sophisticated high-resolution simulations of dust evolution using a chemical transport model.

The researchers complemented their dust event characterization by analyzing the corresponding low-resolution simulations from a climate model, satellite observations, and additional ground-based measurements in Asia and the western United States. The team compared their high- and low-resolution simulations to demonstrate a better match for both the ground-based and satellite data.

The new modeling framework-with strongly linked observational and modeling components-has the potential to estimate uncertainties of climate model predictions associated with transport-related processes. The team plans to apply this framework to various climate-important regions wherever integrated, ground-based aerosol property datasets are available.

Read more at:

Have a great day.

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.