Monthly Archives: May 2018

Kilauea volcano eruption

Kilauea volcano eruption

The Kilauea volcano recently erupted.  Here are some article regarding that event.

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‘It smelled like sulfur:’ Ash falls near Hawaii volcano – Phys.org
May 18, 2018 by Caleb Jones And Sophia Yan

“Hawaii residents covered their faces with masks after a volcano menacing the Big Island for weeks exploded, sending a mixture of pulverized rock, glass and crystal into the air in its strongest eruption of sandlike ash in days.

The Kilauea volcano exploded at its summit shortly after 4 a.m. Thursday following two weeks of volcanic activity that sent lava flows into neighborhoods and destroyed at least 26 homes. Scientists said the eruption was the most powerful in recent days, though it probably lasted only a few minutes.

And it had a smell.

“This morning it smelled like sulfur so we had to close all the windows,” Lindsey Magnani said Thursday as she and her family picked up masks in Volcano, Hawaii. She and her fiance, Elroy Rodrigues, had been sneezing all day, but their children—Kahele Rodrigues, 2, and Kayden Rodrigues, 3 months old—were doing OK.

Authorities handed out around 2,000 masks for protection for people living near the volcano. But geologists have warned that the volcano could become even more violent, with increasing ash production and the potential that future blasts could hurl boulders the size of cows from the summit.

But after Thursday’s eruption, most residents found only thin coatings of ash, if they saw any at all, as winds blew much of the 30,000-foot (9,100-meter) plume away from people.

“It was a grit, like a sand at the beach,” said Joe Laceby, who lives in Volcano a few miles to the northeast of Kilauea’s summit. The ash was a bit of an irritant, he said, but “not too bad.”

Laceby sealed windows and cracks in his home with cellophane wrap to keep out ash and volcanic gases. He has gas masks to protect himself from the toxic fumes and ash.

Winds kept the ash away from the Volcano Winery, tasting room manager Lani Delapenia said. A thin coating of white soot had blanketed tables and vines the day before, on Wednesday, but none wafted over the day of the 30,000-foot plume. The strength and direction of the wind makes all the difference, she said.

“The Volcano Village, and us at the winery, are doing well and we hope people still come and visit us and order wine because we are still pumping wine out,” Delapenia said.

The vineyard also has a great view of the plume, she said.

Julia Neal, operator of Pahala Plantation Cottages about 28 miles (45 kilometers) southwest of the summit crater, said people have been picking up ash masks from county civil defense workers at the local community center. Some people working outside were wearing them. People with asthma were staying inside, she said.

The eruption reminded her of 2008, when Kilauea also had large summit eruptions and sent ash and gas over her community.

A light dusting fell Thursday, but the town had more ash a couple of days ago when people had to wash it off their cars, she said.

“People are renovating one of the historic buildings across the street. The school kids just stopped by. They’re getting ready to graduate. Life is going on quite vibrantly here with people taking these precautions,” she said.

The National Weather Service issued an ash advisory and then extended it through early evening, and county officials distributed ash masks to area residents. Several schools closed because of the risk of elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, a volcanic gas.

Dr. Josh Green, a state senator who represents part of the Big Island, said the immediate risk health risk comes from ash particles in the air. Anyone with respiratory difficulties, such as asthma or emphysema, should limit exposure to the ash, he said.

The Federal Aviation Administration extended a restriction on aircraft from entering the airspace up to 30,000 feet above sea level. The earlier limit was up to 10,000 feet (3,000 meters). The prohibition applies to a 5-mile (8-kilometer) radius around the crater.

Thursday’s eruption did not affect the Big Island’s two largest airports in Hilo and in Kailua-Kona.

The crater spewing ash sits within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed since May 11 as a safety precaution over risks of a violent eruption.

Scientists warned May 9 that a drop in the lava lake at the summit might create conditions for a large explosion. Geologists predicted such a blast would mostly release trapped steam from flash-heated groundwater.

Kilauea has also been erupting lava into neighborhoods 25 miles (40 kilometers) to the east of the summit crater since May 3. County civil defense officials on Friday reported a new lava vent in the area—the 22nd such fissure.

Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, has been erupting continuously since 1983. It’s among the five volcanoes that form the Big Island, and it’s the only one actively erupting. In 1924, an eruption killed one person and sent rocks, ash and dust into the air for 17 days.”

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Hawaii volcano sends ash plume 30,000 feet into sky (Update) – Phys.org
May 17, 2018 by Sophia Yan And Caleb Jones

“Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano erupted anew before dawn Thursday, spewing a steely gray plume of ash about 30,000 feet (9,100 meters) into the sky that began raining down on a nearby town.

The explosion at the summit came shortly after 4 a.m. following two weeks of volcanic activity that sent lava flows into neighborhoods and destroyed at least 26 homes. Scientists said the eruption was the most powerful in recent days, though it probably lasted only a few minutes.

Geologists have warned that the volcano could become even more violent, with increasing ash production and the potential that future blasts could hurl boulders from the summit.

Toby Hazel, who lives in Pahoa, near the mountain, said she heard “a lot of booming sounds” Thursday. Those came after days of earthquakes.

“It’s just time to go—it really, really is,” she said, preparing to leave town. “I feel so sorry for the people who don’t go, because they don’t have the money, or don’t want to go to a shelter and leave their houses.”

Some people in the community closest to the volcano slept through the blast, said Kanani Aton, a spokeswoman for Hawaii County Civil Defense, who spoke to relatives and friends in the town called Volcano.

At least one person who was awake heard nothing. Epic Lava tour operator John Tarson is an early riser and said he only learned about the eruption because he received an alert on his phone.

Tarson said the ash plume looked different than others he’s witnessed because of its sheer height. A video he shared on Facebook showed a towering column of ash reaching into a hazy sky.

“What I noticed is the plume was just rising straight into the air, and it was not tipping in any direction,” he said. “We’ve been expecting this, and a lot of people are going to see it and get excited and scared.”

Residents as far away as Hilo, about 30 miles from Kilauea, were noticing the volcano’s effects. Pua’ena Ahn, who lives in Hilo, complained about having labored breathing, itchy, watery eyes and some skin irritation from airborne ash.

A National Weather Service ash advisory was in effect until noon. Several schools closed because of the risk of elevated levels of sulfur dioxide, a volcanic gas.

The crater sits within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, which has been closed since May 11 as a safety precaution over risks of a violent eruption.”

Follow the link above for the full article.

Airborne Dust Particles

Hazards Of Airborne Dust Particles – Author: Stephen Girts (Teach the Earth)

“Any type of earth-moving activity or combustion can produce excessive amounts of particles in the air, whether it be from businesses, industry, or individuals.

Examples of the types of dust found in the work environment include:

  • mineral dusts, such as those containing free crystalline silica (e.g., as quartz), coal and cement dusts;
  • metallic dusts, such as lead, cadmium, nickel, and beryllium dusts;
  • other chemical dusts, e.g., many bulk chemicals and pesticides:
  • organic and vegetable dusts, such as flour, wood, cotton and tea dusts, pollens;
  • biohazards, such as viable particles, moulds and spores

Dusts are generated not only by work processes, but may also occur naturally, e.g., pollens, volcanic ashes, and sandstorms.

Sources: Where Does It Come From
Airborne Dust Particles can come from pretty much anywhere, any movement or activity can cause a large amount of excess particles in the air.

  • Disturbed vacant or open lands
  • Construction and mining activity
  • Landscaping maintenance activity
  • Industrial sources
  • Fires: fireplace, camp, forest
  • – Charcoal or wood-burning barbecues – Off-road vehicle activity
    – Unpaved and paved roads, parking lots – Diesel exhaust

How Airborne Dust Particles Travel The Earth
Airborne Dust Particles can travel through various sources such as soil being lifted up by weather (an Aeolian process), volcanic eruptions, and pollution. Dust comes from arid and dry regions where high velocity winds are able to remove mostly silt-sized material. This includes ares where grazing, ploughing, vehicle use and other human activities have furthered the destabilized the land. Dust in the atmosphere is produced by saltation and sandblasting of sand-sized grains, and it is transported through the troposphere. The airborne dust is considered an aerosol and once in the atmosphere, it can produce strong local radiative forcing.

Bioavailability
Airborne Dust Particles contaminates the biosphere through inhalation by humans and animals, and can also effect crops growing in an area with large amounts of dust particles. When inhaled, the fibers are deposited in air passages and on lung cells.

Impacts On Human Health
Particles can be so small that they pass through the nasal passage and travel to the deepest parts of the lungs and cause damage. To compound the problem, toxic and cancer-causing chemicals can attach themselves to PM yielding much more profound effects. The tiniest of particles can even pass into the bloodstream through the lungs. People most at risk from breathing particle pollution are children, the elderly, and people with respiratory or heart disease. Healthy people can be affected as well, especially outdoor exercisers. Effects of breathing PM for hours, days, or years include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Respiratory pain
  • Diminished lung function
  • Weakened immune systems
  • Increased hospitalization
  • pneumonia, asthma, and emphysema – Heart attacks and strokes
    – Premature death (1-8 years)”

Dust Storm - Airborne dust particles

Airborne Dust: A Hazard to Human Health, Environment and Society
Author: By Enric Terradellas, Slobodan Nickovic and Xiao-Ye Zhang – World Meteorological Organisation

“Over the last decade, the scientific community has come to realize the important impacts of airborne dust on climate, human health, the environment and various socio-economic sectors. WMO and its Members, having started implementation of monitoring, forecasting and early warning systems for airborne dust in 2004, are at the vanguard on evaluating these impacts and developing products to guide preparedness, adaptation and mitigation policies.

This article will first provide an overview of the dust cycle and discuss its interaction with weather, the climate system, and terrestrial and marine ecosystems, before looking at its impacts on health and diverse economic sectors. It will then highlight the international network coordinated by WMO and its ambitious plan for providing policy-oriented products. The intent is to raise awareness in National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) on the extent of the adverse impacts of airborne dust and to inform readers of WMO efforts to understand these better. The article highlights the WMO initiative to provide operational services that can facilitate dust forecasting and early warning in order to invite other interested organisations to actively participate in this important work.

The dust cycle
Dust storms are common meteorological hazard in arid and semi-arid regions. They are usually caused by thunderstorms, or strong pressure gradients associated with cyclones, that increase wind speed over a wide area.

These strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from bare, dry soils into the atmosphere, transporting them hundreds to thousands of kilometres away.

Gravity keeps dust pinned down on the Earth surface. The heavier a dust particle – due to size, density or the presence of water in the soil – the stronger the gravitational force holding it down. A dust storm can only occur when the wind force exceeds the threshold value for the loose particles to be lifted off the ground. Vegetation serves as a cover, protecting the Earth surface from this wind (Aeolian) erosion. Thus, drought contributes to the emergence of dust storms, as do poor farming and grazing practices or inadequate water management, by exposing the dust and sand to the wind.

Some 40% of aerosols in the troposphere (the lowest layer of Earth’s atmosphere) are dust particles from wind erosion. The main sources of these mineral dusts are the arid regions of Northern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia and China. Comparatively, Australia, America and South Africa make minor, but still important, contributions. Global estimates of dust emissions, mainly derived from simulation models, vary between one and three Gigatons per year.

Once released from the surface, dust particles are raised to higher levels of the troposphere by turbulent mixing and convective updrafts. They are then transported by winds for lengths of time, depending on their size and meteorological conditions. Gravitation remains the major force pulling dust particles back down to the surface. Together with impaction and turbulent diffusion, it contributes to what is called dry deposition. As larger particles sediment more quickly than smaller ones, there is a shift toward smaller particle sizes during transport. Dust is also washed out of the atmosphere by precipitation – wet deposition. The average lifetime of dust particles in the atmosphere ranges from a few hours for particles with a diameter larger than 10 μm, to more than 10 days for the sub-micrometric ones.

Interaction with weather and climate
Aerosols, particularly mineral dusts, impact weather as well as global and regional climate.4 Dust particles, especially if coated by pollution, act as condensation nuclei for warm cloud formation and as efficient ice nuclei agents for cold cloud generation. The ability of dust particles to serve as such depends on their size, shape and composition, which in turn depend on the nature of parent soils, emissions and transport processes. Modification of the microphysical composition of clouds changes their ability to absorb solar radiation, which indirectly affects the energy reaching the Earth’s surface.5 Dust particles also influence the growth of cloud droplets and ice crystals, thus affecting the amount and location of precipitation.

Airborne dust functions in a manner similar to the greenhouse effect: it absorbs and scatters solar radiation entering Earth’s atmosphere, reducing the amount reaching the surface, and absorbs long-wave radiation bouncing back up from the surface, re-emitting it in all directions. Again, the ability of dust particles to absorb solar radiation depends on their size, shape and mineralogical and chemical composition. The vertical distribution of dust in the air (vertical profile) and the characteristics of the underlying surface are also required to quantify this impact.

Impacts on human health
Airborne dust presents serious risks for human health. Dust particle size is a key determinant of potential hazard to human health. Particles larger than 10 μm are not breathable, thus can only damage external organs – mostly causing skin and eye irritations, conjunctivitis and enhanced susceptibility to ocular infection. Inhalable particles, those smaller than 10 μm, often get trapped in the nose, mouth and upper respiratory tract, thus can be associated with respiratory disorders such as asthma, tracheitis, pneumonia, allergic rhinitis and silicosis. However, finer particles may penetrate the lower respiratory tract and enter the bloodstream, where they can affect all internal organs and be responsible for cardiovascular disorders. A global model assessment in 2014 estimated that exposure to dust particles caused about 400 000 premature deaths by cardiopulmonary disease in the over 30 population.6

Some infectious diseases can be transmitted by dust. Meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial infection of the thin tissue layer that surrounds the brain and spinal cord, can result in brain damage and, if untreated, death in 50% of cases.7 Outbreaks occur worldwide, yet the highest incidence is found in the “meningitis belt”, a part of sub-Saharan Africa with an estimated population of 300 million. These outbreaks have a strong seasonal pattern – many studies have linked environmental conditions, such as low humidity and dusty conditions, to the time and place of infections.8 Researchers believe that the inhalation of dust particles in hot dry weather may damage nose and throat mucosa creating favourable conditions for bacterial infection.9 Moreover, iron oxides embedded in dust particles may enhance the risk of infection.10

Dust also plays a role in the transmission of valley fever – a potentially deadly disease – in the Southwest of the United States and in the Northern Mexico by acting as a transporter of Coccidioides fungi spores.

Impacts on the environment and society
Surface dust deposits are a source of micro-nutrients for both continental and maritime ecosystems. Saharan dust is thought to fertilize the Amazon rainforest, and dust transports of iron and phosphorus are know to benefit marine biomass production in parts of the oceans suffering from the shortage of such elements.11 But dust also has many negative impacts on agriculture, including reducing crop yields by burying seedlings, causing loss of plant tissue, reducing photosynthetic activity and increasing soil erosion.

Indirect dust deposit impacts include filling irrigation canals, covering transportation routes and affecting river and stream water quality. Reductions in visibility due to airborne dust also have an impact on air and land transport. Poor visibility conditions are a danger during aircraft landing and taking off – landings may be diverted and departures delayed. Dust can also scour aircraft surfaces and damage engines.

Dust can impact on the output of solar power plants, especially those that rely on direct solar radiation. Dust deposits on solar panels are a main concern of plants operators. Keeping the solar collectors dust-free to prevent particles from blocking incoming radiation requires time and labour.”

For the full article, please follow the link above.

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Have a good day! Chris Loans

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

What happens to dust in the air you breathe in your lungs?

Lungs

Here is some information about what happens when you breath in dust……..  I trust you’ll find it informative.

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“What happens to dust in the air you breathe in your lungs?Quora – Shreya Thacker, Physical and Respiratory Therapist

Our lungs are self-cleansing.

Throughout the respiratory system, there are various checkpoints that deploy different defenses against the microbes/dust particles.

The first defense is in the form of nasal hair. Nasal hair act like a filter that sifts the inhaled air to remove bacteria/fungi/viruses/any other offensive specks (dust, pollen, etc).

The smaller filtered particles, along with nasal secretions – which is mostly water, form the boogers (yuck, I know).

The larger particles, that often irritate the nasal mucous membranes, trigger a sneeze. This explosive and often violent expulsion of air is usually enough to clear the nose of the irritants.

The second defense is in the form of a sticky, gel-like substance called the mucus. Mucus is famous among children as the snot and among adults as the phlegm.

About a liter of mucus is produced every day by the airways. More, when we’re sick. (This why we don’t notice its presence when healthy)

The purpose of the sticky mucus, among many other things, is to trap dust particles from the inspired air.

The trapped dust and the mucus are constantly moved towards the upper airway (nose and mouth) in a sweeping motion to be expelled by tiny hair-like structures called cilia. Cilia move in a wave-like motion — back and forth — beating 11-14 times/second.

The larger trapped particles that cause throat irritation trigger a cough. The ones in the nose stimulate a sneeze. Alternatively, one could simply spit or blow the mucus out.

However, most of the mucus is swallowed. It passes through the alimentary canal, like food and water, without any adverse effects.

Finally, the smallest of the particles that escape and slide through the cracks in first two defense systems to reach the lungs face the wrath of the immune system.

Macrophages, type of white blood cells, quite literally engulf, ingest, digest, and neutralize the offending agent.

All these mechanisms, when work together, simultaneously and efficiently, ensure the lungs are free of the allergic, disease inducing particles.”

Lungs

“What are the Effects of Dust on the Lungs? – CCOHS

The lungs are constantly exposed to danger from the dusts we breathe. Luckily, the lungs have another function – they have defense mechanisms that protects them by removing dust particles from the respiratory system. For example, during a lifetime, a coal miner may inhale 1,000 g of dust into his lungs. When doctors examine the lungs of a miner after death, they find no more than 40 g of dust. Such a relatively small residue illustrates the importance of the lungs’ defenses, and certainly suggests that they are quite effective. On the other hand, even though the lungs can clear themselves, excessive inhalation of dust may result in disease.

The lungs are protected by a series of defense mechanisms in different regions of the respiratory tract.

When a person breathes in, particles suspended in the air enter the nose, but not all of them reach the lungs. The nose is an efficient filter. Most large particles are stopped in it, until they are removed mechanically by blowing the nose or sneezing.

Some of the smaller particles succeed in passing through the nose to reach the windpipe and the dividing air tubes that lead to the lungs.
These tubes are called bronchi and bronchioles. All of these airways are lined by cells. The mucus they produce catches most of the dust particles. Tiny hairs called cilia, covering the walls of the air tubes, move the mucus upward and out into the throat, where it is either coughed up and spat out, or swallowed.

The air reaches the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the inner part of the lungs with any dust particles that avoided the defenses in the nose and airways. The air sacs are very important because through them, the body receives oxygen and releases carbon dioxide.

Dust that reaches the sacs and the lower part of the airways where there are no cilia is attacked by special cells called macrophages. These are extremely important for the defense of the lungs. They keep the air sacs clean. Macrophages virtually swallow the particles. Then the macrophages, in a way which is not well understood, reach the part of the airways that is covered by cilia. The wavelike motions of the cilia move the macrophages which contain dust to the throat, where they are spat out or swallowed.

Besides macrophages, the lungs have another system for the removal of dust. The lungs can react to the presence of germ-bearing particles by producing certain proteins. These proteins attach to particles to neutralize them.

Dusts are tiny solid particles scattered or suspended in the air. The particles are “inorganic” or “organic,” depending on the source of the dust. Inorganic dusts can come from grinding metals or minerals such as rock or soil. Examples of inorganic dusts are silica, asbestos, and coal.

Organic dusts originate from plants or animals. An example of organic dust is dust that arises from handling grain. These dusts can contain a great number of substances. Aside from the vegetable or animal component, organic dusts may also contain fungi or microbes and the toxic substances given off by microbes. For example, histoplasmosis, psittacosis and Q Fever are diseases that people can get if they breathe in organic that are infected with a certain microorganisms.

Dusts can also come from organic chemicals (e.g., dyes, pesticides). However, in this OSH Answers document, we are only considering dust particles that cause fibrosis or allergic reactions in the lungs. We are not including chemical dusts that cause other acute toxic effects, nor long term effects such as cancer for example.

What are the reactions of the lungs to dust?
The way the respiratory system responds to inhaled particles depends, to a great extent, on where the particle settles. For example, irritant dust that settles in the nose may lead to rhinitis, an inflammation of the mucous membrane. If the particle attacks the larger air passages, inflammation of the trachea (tracheitis) or the bronchi (bronchitis) may be seen.

The most significant reactions of the lung occur in the deepest parts of this organ.

Particles that evade elimination in the nose or throat tend to settle in the sacs or close to the end of the airways. But if the amount of dust is large, the macrophage system may fail. Dust particles and dust-containing macrophages collect in the lung tissues, causing injury to the lungs.

The amount of dust and the kinds of particles involved influence how serious the lung injury will be. For example, after the macrophages swallow silica particles, they die and give off toxic substances. These substances cause fibrous or scar tissue to form. This tissue is the body’s normal way of repairing itself. However, in the case of crystalline silica so much fibrous tissue and scarring form that lung function can be impaired. The general name for this condition for fibrous tissue formation and scarring is fibrosis. The particles which cause fibrosis or scarring are called fibrogenic. When fibrosis is caused by crystalline silica, the condition is called silicosis.”

For more information please follow the link above to read the full article
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Have a great day! Chris

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

Canadian government asked to make formal apology to asbestos victims

Canadian government asked to make formal apology to asbestos victims

By – Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada.ca, March 20, 2018

RightOnCanada has called on the the Canadian government to make a formal apology to asbestos victims in Canada and overseas for having concealed for decades the hazardousness of asbestos and promoted its use.

The Canadian government is holding consultations with Canadian organisations and businesses until March 22 to get their comments on the government’s proposed regulations to ban asbestos and asbestos-containing products.

In its submission, RightOnCanada asks the government to set up a national fund to compensate victims of asbestos, include asbestos mining wastes under its regulations, as recommended by all 18 Quebec Directors of Public Health, and set up a National Asbestos panel to develop and implement a national strategy to protect Canadians from asbestos harm. It calls on the government to practice transparency and to create whistle-blower protection.

It asks the Canadian government to clearly prohibit the export of any asbestos or any asbestos-containing product.

Read the full submission here: http://rightoncanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Federal-asbestos-regulations-submission-Kathleen-Ruff-March-20-2018.pdf

Asbestos

This article below is from the University of Oregon – Why is asbestos so dangerous?

“When is Asbestos Dangerous?
The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through breathing. In fact, asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibers into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested. Many of the fibers will become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they can then be removed, but some may pass deep into the lungs, or, if swallowed, into the digestive tract. Once they are trapped in the body, the fibers can cause health problems.

Asbestos is most hazardous when it is friable. The term “friable” means that the asbestos is easily crumbled by hand, releasing fibers into the air. Sprayed on asbestos insulation is highly friable. Asbestos floor tile is not.

Asbestos-containing ceiling tiles, floor tiles, undamaged laboratory cabinet tops, shingles, fire doors, siding shingles, etc. will not release asbestos fibers unless they are disturbed or damaged in some way. If an asbestos ceiling tile is drilled or broken, for example, it may release fibers into the air. If it is left alone and not disturbed, it will not.

Damage and deterioration will increase the friability of asbestos-containing materials. Water damage, continual vibration, aging, and physical impact such as drilling, grinding, buffing, cutting, sawing, or striking can break the materials down making fiber release more likely.

Health Effects
Because it is so hard to destroy asbestos fibers, the body cannot break them down or remove them once they are lodged in lung or body tissues. They remain in place where they can cause disease.

There are three primary diseases associated with asbestos exposure:

Asbestosis
Lung Cancer
Mesothelioma
Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a serious, chronic, non-cancerous respiratory disease. Inhaled asbestos fibers aggravate lung tissues, which cause them to scar. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath and a dry crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling. In its advanced stages, the disease may cause cardiac failure.

There is no effective treatment for asbestosis; the disease is usually disabling or fatal. The risk of asbestosis is minimal for those who do not work with asbestos; the disease is rarely caused by neighborhood or family exposure. Those who renovate or demolish buildings that contain asbestos may be at significant risk, depending on the nature of the exposure and precautions taken.

Lung Cancer
Lung cancer causes the largest number of deaths related to asbestos exposure. The incidence of lung cancer in people who are directly involved in the mining, milling, manufacturing and use of asbestos and its products is much higher than in the general population. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are coughing and a change in breathing. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, persistent chest pains, hoarseness, and anemia.

People who have been exposed to asbestos and are also exposed to some other carcinogen — such as cigarette smoke — have a significantly greater risk of developing lung cancer than people who have only been exposed to asbestos. One study found that asbestos workers who smoke are about 90 times more likely to develop lung cancer than people who neither smoke nor have been exposed to asbestos.

Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that most often occurs in the thin membrane lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen, and (rarely) heart. About 200 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. Virtually all cases of mesothelioma are linked with asbestos exposure. Approximately 2 percent of all miners and textile workers who work with asbestos, and 10 percent of all workers who were involved in the manufacture of asbestos-containing gas masks, contract mesothelioma.

People who work in asbestos mines, asbestos mills and factories, and shipyards that use asbestos, as well as people who manufacture and install asbestos insulation, have an increased risk of mesothelioma. So do people who live with asbestos workers, near asbestos mining areas, near asbestos product factories or near shipyards where use of asbestos has produced large quantities of airborne asbestos fibers.

Other Cancers
Evidence suggests that cancers in the esophagus, larynx, oral cavity, stomach, colon and kidney may be caused by ingesting asbestos. For more information on asbestos-related cancers, contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Determining Factors
Three things seem to determine your likelihood of developing one of these asbestos related diseases:

The amount and duration of exposure – the more you are exposed to asbestos and the more fibers that enter your body, the more likely you are to develop asbestos related problems. While there is no “safe level” of asbestos exposure, people who are exposed more frequently over a long period of time are more at risk.

Whether or not you smoke – if you smoke and you have been exposed to asbestos, you are far more likely to develop lung cancer than someone who does not smoke and who has not been exposed to asbestos. If you work with asbestos or have been exposed to it, the first thing you should do to reduce your chances of developing cancer is to stop smoking.

Age – cases of mesothelioma have occurred in the children of asbestos workers whose only exposures were from the dust brought home on the clothing of family members who worked with asbestos. The younger people are when they inhale asbestos, the more likely they are to develop mesothelioma. This is why enormous efforts are being made to prevent school children from being exposed.
Because each exposure to asbestos increases the body burden of asbestos fibers, it is very important to reduce and minimize your exposure.”

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Hope you found this informative!  Enjoy your day. Chris

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

 

Dust and Farming

A couple of good articles on the problems of dust in the agricultural sector.

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Dust particles in livestock facilities – Phys Org – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – https://phys.org/news/2017-07-particles-livestock-facilities.html

“A beam of sunlight streams into your living room, illuminating a Milky Way of dust particles hanging in the air. Although the air looks thick, those visible dust particles are so big that they can’t reach the smallest branches of the respiratory tree in your lungs. It’s the dust we can’t see—smaller than 2.5 microns, called PM 2.5—that can cause allergies and other respiratory problems.

Inside livestock facilities, the dust particles are much more abundant than in a living room, and can cause pulmonary problems for anyone who breathes the air, including the animals. A recent research project on air quality characterizes the dust particles found in different livestock facilities. For the study, the air was sampled for three consecutive days in each of three types of animal production facilities—poultry, dairy, and swine.

“If you’re going to regulate air quality, first you have to measure it. And before you measure it, you have to characterize how to measure it and what’s in it,” says Richard Gates, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at University of Illinois and member of the research project team.

Gates says not all livestock facility dust is alike. “In order to manage or regulate the dust, we first have to understand its characteristics. Until we have that, we can’t make models that describe the emission from a building, how much of it drops out within 100 yards of a building, and how much of it travels much further from the facility.”

According to Gates, laying hen facilities are recognized as a very dusty environment; a dairy facility is a very open, airy environment with lots of fresh air; and a swine-finishing building, although not considered to be terribly dusty, is actually the worst overall in dust level, especially at the most dangerous particulate matter (PM) level.

“Of the three types of livestock buildings, swine facilities tip the scales in terms of having the highest amount of the dangerously small, PM 2.5 size particulate matter—significantly higher,” Gates says.

Anecdotally, Gates says a high percentage of people who work in livestock facilities, over time, develop respiratory issues. “They should be wearing protective masks at all times. On bigger farms it’s a requirement,” he says. “In the early days of raising livestock, masks weren’t available, and in developing countries, availability is still an issue. And pigs are affected, too. One of the major challenges in swine production is keeping them healthy without the use of antibiotics, and respiratory stress is one of the health issues.”

The lead researcher on the project, Ehab Mostafa, collected the data at livestock facilities in Germany, which are believed to be comparable in terms of dust to facilities in the United States, and conducted the first analysis. Mostafa also developed a sedimentation cylinder to measure the particulate matter. Air is blown into the top of the cylinder. Then a particle counter inside measures the density and weight-per-surface area of the particulates as they fall to the bottom.

“Interestingly, the particles are not all spherical,” Gates says. “Without scientific ways to characterize their shapes, then every model that we use to predict how many there are and how to measure them and their fate are wrong – because the models have been assuming spherical particles. We’ve known that they couldn’t all be perfectly round, but this study demonstrates you can use these derived values and improve predictions for more accurate models by accounting for differences in properties at different sizes and types of particulate matter.”

Gates says this research is a rigorous scientific approach to characterizing these particles. The information will be used as input for models to discover the fate of the dust as it leaves the building and its effect on the external environment.

“There are important outcomes from this research,” Gates says. “One is to characterize what’s going on in these three types of facilities. Then, with that information, we can compare it to what we already have for health standards for humans and animals. For example OSHA has an 8-hour exposure limit for PM 2.5.”

The study, “Physical properties of particulate matter from animal houses—empirical studies to improve emission modelling,” is published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research.”
More information: Ehab Mostafa et al. Physical properties of particulate matter from animal houses—empirical studies to improve emission modelling, Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s11356-016-6424-8
Journal reference: Environmental Science and Pollution Research

Provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dust and Farming

Health Hazards In Agriculture – An Emerging Issue  – National Ag Safety Database – By Bradley K Rein – http://nasdonline.org/1246/d001050/health-hazards-in-agriculture-an-emerging-issue.html

“Perhaps more than any other occupational group, agricultural workers are exposed to a tremendous variety of environmental hazards that are potentially harmful to their health and well-being. Farmers and farm workers suffer from increased rates of respiratory diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, skin disorders, certain cancers, chemical toxicity, and heat-related illnesses. There are precautions that can be taken to minimize or eliminate these potential hazards.

RESPIRATORY HAZARDS

Farming situations present several respiratory hazards to farm workers. Exposure to these hazards has been linked to excessive coughing and congestion in 20 to 90 percent of farm workers and families. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis were observed in as many as 50 percent of swine confinement workers and grain handlers.
Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome (ODTS) is a common respiratory illness manifested by temporary influenza-like illness with fever, headache, and muscle aches and pains. Although much less common than ODTS, Farmer’s Lung is an allergic reaction caused by inhaling dust from moldy hay, straw, and grain. Dairy and grain farmers are the most common victims. The months when moldy crops are handled indoors are the most dangerous. For those who are susceptible, repeated exposure damages lung tissue, ca sing shortness of breath and a growing inability to perform strenuous work. Victims eventually may find it a struggle even to get out of a chair.

Dust from moldy hay, grain, and silage can also cause ODTS, which has symptoms resembling Farmer’s Lung. However, ODTS does not produce long-term illness or cause permanent lung damage.

Nuisance dusts and gases also are hazards. Suspended dust particles not containing spores from moldy organic matter are considered nuisance dusts. Repeated exposure can turn portions of the lung into hardened, nonfunctioning tissue and cause chronic bronchitis and occupational asthma.

A variety of disabling gases, including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ammonia (NH3), Carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4), are produced during many routine operations. Exposure to low levels of NO2, H2S, or NH3 will produce lung and eye irritations, dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches. High levels of H2S, particularly, and NO2, secondarily, will quickly render a worker unconscious and death will follow.

The best prevention of respiratory disease is to wear a respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Air-purifying respirators remove contaminants from the air, but can only be used in environments with enough oxygen to sustain life. Supplied-air respirators must be used in oxygen-limited environments, or in environments with acute toxic gas levels.

NOISE

Agricultural noise is another common health hazard on the farm. It is estimated that 10 percent of U.S. farm workers are exposed to average daily noise levels above 85 decibels, which is the “action” level at which hearing conservation program are required for industrial workers. Studies at the Universities of Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa found that noise-induced hearing loss has been found to affect a quarter of younger farmers, and at least 50 percent of older farmers. Significant numbers develop a communication handicap by age 30.
Prolonged exposure to excessive noise, such as that produced by tractors, combines, choppers, grain dryers, and chainsaws, can cause permanent hearing loss unless noise-control measures are taken. Ears provide two warning signs for overexposure: temporary threshold shift (TTF) and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). The two types of hearing protection available are ear muffs and ear plugs. Ear muffs are more effective, but the level of protection varies due to differences in size, shape, seal material, shell mass, and type of suspension. Ear plugs may be custom fined or preformed rubber, plastic, or foam inserts. Preformed inserts are cheaper, but ear plugs properly inserted into the ear and custom-fitted by trained personnel are more effective because the ear canal shape may vary.

If you are continually exposed to loud noises, you should have periodic hearing tests. This test, called an audiogram, will reveal signs of hearing loss. If a hearing loss is noted, take steps to reduce exposure, thereby eliminating further damage to your ears.”

Please follow the link above to read the full article.

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Enjoy your day! Chris

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