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Morphological changes of dust particles

Real-time evidence of morphological changes of dust particles due to internal mixing with pollution

Frequent occurrence of both anthropogenic pollution and natural dust in East Asia has great impact on regional air quality, human health and climate. Until now, their interaction and consequent effect on dust morphology remain statistically unclear, because even though the traditional filter-based bulk sampling method can provide accurate chemical compounds, it cannot distinguish the mixing state of chemicals with dust particles.

“Single-particle inspection using electro-microscopy can identify coated/contaminated dust particles,” says Dr. PAN Xiaole from Institute of Atmospheric Physics, “but real-time measurement on the morphological variation of dust particles was difficult due to labor-intensive manual operations.” In a recently published paper in Scientific Reports, PAN and his collaborators from China and Japan investigated polarization of the oscillation direction of the back-scattering signal of single dust particles online using a newly developed bench-top optical particle counter.

A real-time decrease in Asian dust depolarization was observed in North China for the first time. PAN reckons that it can only be caused by the decrease in the particle aspect ratio, which was reflected by the coating of an air pollutant, such as the deliquescent dust-nitrate Ca(NO3)2. “This phenomenon was obvious when the dust particles were stagnant in a polluted region with a high relative humidity condition,” says PAN. The statistics highlight the significant importance of internally mixed “quasi-spherical” Asian dust particles, which were more hygroscopic and likely to act as cloud condensation nuclei (CCN).

Because the NOx emission in East Asia has been rapidly increasing over the last decade, their findings imply that nitrate has become increasingly important on the morphological change of Asian dust and its subsequent spatial allocation.

“Nitrate plays a leading role in regional climate change,” PAN concludes. He adds, “Many processes associated with the direct/indirect effects of dust-nitrate are still insufficiently understood, and this requires more attention from the public and poses another challenge for the observation and modeling communities.”

Their findings have been published and online in Scientific Reports.

Morphological changes of dust particles

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-real-time-evidence-morphological-particles-due.html#jCp

I trust you found this article on Morphological changes of dust particles interesting!  Enjoy your day!

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

An energy-efficient cleaning robot

State-of-the-art solar cells are efficient – but are even more so when they are kept clean. A cleaning robot developed by Norwegian researchers enables solar panels to deliver at full capacity.
An energy-efficient cleaning robot

At a solar energy farm just outside Budapest in Hungary, a cleaning robot is industriously getting on with today’s task. Hundreds of square metres of solar panels are waiting to be cleaned – as quickly and effectively as possible. And without the use of chemicals or any unwanted discharges to the natural environment. The robot is the result of a joint project between Norwegian researchers and the Hungarian company ProDSP Technology.

“It’s a well known fact that solar panels work more efficiently when they’re clean,” says SINTEF researcher and Project Manager Martin Bellmann who, in his day-to-day work, develops what is known as sustainable energy technology. “But what’s new here is that we’ve developed a robot to do the job. This means that the solar are cleaned both quickly and efficiently with as little as possible wear and tear or environmental impact,” he says.

There’s dirt and there’s dirt

Cleaning solar cells using a robot may sound like a straightforward job – but there’s dirt and there’s dirt. And when a solar farm covering several square kilometres is being cleaned, no chemicals can be used, and there must be no damage to the natural environment. So how do we get to grips with a challenge like this?

Solar cell researcher Birgit Ryningen is examining a set of glass plates in SINTEF’s Daylight Laboratory. They are all contaminated to order, but in different degrees.

The reason is that the dirt in question has been precisely applied. These plates will now be studied in detail by researchers in order to provide answers about how much the contamination occludes sunlight. This is the final phase of the project.

There really are all kinds of dirt. “The degree to which dust particles and contamination affects solar cells is very location-dependent,” explains Ryningen.

At the start of the project she carried out a literature study to find out how such dirt affected its surroundings, only to find out that existing research focusing on air pollution and dust particles had for the most part been directed on the human body. However, she did find examples of research into the ways in which sand storms impact on solar cells installed in the Middle East. In other words, more research was needed in order to provide scientists with more details about this subject.

“We’ve seen that some dust particles absorb light while others reflect it,” says Ryningen. “And small particles reflect more light than larger ones, whereas some scale contamination is biological and acts as a kind of ‘sun factor’,” she says. And some scale coatings are thicker than others.

However, what they all have in common is that they must be removed in order for the solar cells to function optimally according to specifications. For this reason, the researchers have developed a cleaning approach that is both fast and sensitive, as well as being environmentally-friendly. And which can deal with all the different types of contamination we encounter.

Cleaning is part of normal operations

The Norwegian company Scatec Solar constructs, owns, operates and maintains solar energy farms in many countries, including the Czech Republic, South Africa, Rwanda, Honduras and Jordan. Last year, the company’s sites generated as much as 791 GWh. This is equivalent to the consumption of 200,000 average EU households.

Project Manager Caroline Sissener at Scatec Solar describes the Norwegian researchers’ solution as interesting, especially for solar energy farms located in the Middle East.

“Cleaning is part of standard operational procedures at our solar energy farms, where equipment is cleaned at least once or twice a year on order to avoid soiling. This involves the removal of everything from sand to bird droppings ,” she says. “But cleaning frequency is location-dependent. If a farm is located in a desert environment, the panels will require more frequent cleaning because the solar cells become covered with soil and sand,” says Sissener.

She goes on to say that Scatec Solar often employs manual cleaning methods because these are effective and inexpensive, but that the company also uses automated systems.

“Cleaning robots may offer a relevant and attractive solution for solar energy parks located in areas where frequent cleaning is required,” says Sissener.

She also informs us that manual methods are important to Scatec in some situations because they provide local jobs. The method chosen is assessed on a case-by-case basis, and environmental factors such as water shortages and neighbouring agricultural activity are also taken into account.

Robot arm and micro-showers

The robot cleaner currently in SINTEF’s laboratory has undergone a range of tests. Researchers have experimented with a variety of micro cleaning pads, chemicals and air pressure application approaches – all tested, of course, on different types of soiling.

“It is vitally important that we don’t discharge chemical pollutants into the environment,” explains Ryningen. “So we’ve rejected the use of traditional cleaning agents and have ended up using unbelievably small micro-droplets of water that are “sprayed” onto the glass, almost as a vapour. Then the robot uses a micro cleaning pad that effectively removes the contaminant particles.

Because solar cells can be exposed to wear and tear, researchers have also been working hard to develop methods of controlling the pressure exerted by the robot’s cleaning arm.

“It is vital that the robot doesn’t scratch the sensitive glass surface. Even small scratches can reduce the efficiency of the solar cells,” explains Ryningen, adding that “in theory, this should work on windows as well, which will open up a broader market for us,” she says.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-energy-efficient-robot.html#jCp

Negev desert solar field uses water-free robotic cleaning system

At large solar plants, keeping surfaces of solar panels free from dust and sand is not just a matter of good housekeeping but of whether or not the plants can really make a difference to the communities they want to serve. In other words, keeping the panels clean especially in very dry areas may be a matter of solar plant effectiveness or ineffectiveness. Solar plant panels in deserts collect large quantities of dust. Recently, a solar park in Israel was provided with an answer to the problem.

The 20-acre Ketura Sun Solar Park in the Negev Desert (located in the hot southern stretch, which suffers from sandstorms and little rain) was introduced to a robotic cleaning process from an Israel-based company, Ecoppia. No water is needed for the cleanups. Instead, each night (cleaning typically takes place during the early hours of dark) 100 centrally controlled E4 robots, as they are called, go to work on the panels using microfibers and controlled air flow to push dirt off panels. The robots use gravitation to move the dust particles downwards and off the panels. They move along a rigid aluminum frame with wheels coated with polyurethane; there is no load on the solar panels’ surface.

Ecoppia designed the system to be water-free and energy-efficient. When not cleaning, the robots are locked to a docking station outside of the solar PV row. While docking, robot batteries are charged through their solar panel. The fleet can be remotely managed from a dashboard or mobile app.

Before the latest robotic cleaning process, Ketura Sun’s solar panels were only cleaned about nine times a year, in consideration of the expense involved in a labor-intensive, water-based cleaning process. Manual panel cleaning could take up to five days. As a result operations worked suboptimally and in the interim between cleaning cycles the park suffered electricity production degradation due to “soiling,” the term used to describe the accumulation of dirt and dust on photovoltaic solar panel surfaces.

Ecoppia, founded in 2013, is in the business of photovoltaic solar panel cleaning solutions The Ketura Sun solar park is jointly owned by Siemens AG and solar energy pioneer Arava Power. Founded in 2006, Arava Power has seven solar parks in production or development across the Negev, with a total production capacity of 80 MW. In 2009, Siemens AG acquired a 40 percent stake in Arava Power.

The park’s robot cleaning crew is yet another marker of interest by the solar industry in improved techniques for keeping panels clean and efficient. Last November, a Tokyo-based company, Sinfonia Technology, announced it developed a robot with camera and sensors that can move autonomously and clean solar panels at large-scale solar power plants. Its robot had another approach, with equipment including scrub brush, wiper and detergent; and sprinkling water stored in its tank.

Also in November, US-based SunPower announced the acquisition of Greenbotics, a company with panel cleaning products for large-scale solar power plants.

Read more at – https://techxplore.com/news/2014-04-negev-solar-field-water-free-robotic.html

Have a great day!

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

Rain Water Tanks

DustWatch is determined to make an effort to save water and do what we can to conserve this precious resource.  Here is our new 2500 Litre, 660 gallon water rain water tank at our Piketberg offices. It also a security feature as this tank makes it difficult to get into the garden!

Rain Water Tank

 

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 Kottke.org

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.

Cough

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

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

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.

Treatment
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!

Chris

Coal Mine Dust

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

Dust Monitoring Training Course

DUST MONITORING TRAINING COURSE

Dust watch cc (www.dustwatch.com) conducted fallout dust monitoring training course in the Avenue Guest House (www.avenueguesthouse.co.za)www.avenuesguesthouse.co.zawww.avenuesguesthouse.co.za, 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: https://phys.org/news/2017-05-trans-pacific-journey-atmospheric-particles.html#jCp

Have a great day.

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

Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease

I found this article at Health, Environment & Work – some interesting info on how lungs function and the health effects of dust and gasses.

“The lungs and skin (including nose and eyes) are the organs of first contact for most environmental exposures (excluding ingestion). This aid to learning also includes an introduction to wider harmful consequences as exemplified by the effects on cellular respiration. It will exclude infection and consequences of radioactivity. It complements other modes of learning in the module.

Relevant Fundamentals of Lung Structure and Function

The airways of the lung derive from the trachea (wind pipe) downwards by progressive division into two (or more) branches. Those airways beyond the trachea that contain cartilage are called bronchi. The airways lacking in cartilage beyond the bronchi are the bronchioles. These lead into hollow spaces called alveoli which have a diameter of about 0.1 mm each. There are approximately 300 million alveoli and their total surface area is about 140 m2. The conducting airways are lined by cells with cilia (small motile surface projections). Interspersed between these cells are mucus secreting cells. Secreted mucus spreads over the cilia which direct it upwards to the larger airways by rhythmic undulating movements, thus helping to clear deposited dusts.
The respiratory units, i.e. the alveoli and the smallest bronchioles called respiratory bronchioles are responsible for the exchange of gases. They are lined mainly by flat, extremely thin cells which permit easy diffusion of oxygen through them from the air in the alveolar spaces to the blood in the capillaries and easier diffusion of carbon dioxide in the opposite direction. Alveolar macrophages are very abundant, mobile and phagocytic cells mainly responsible amongst other functions for the ingestion of foreign matter. The lining of the outside of the lung and the inside of the chest wall is called the pleura.

Deposition and host defence of inhaled dusts and mists

Aerosol is an all-embracing term including all airborne particles small enough to float in the air. Dusts are solid particles dispersed in air. Mists are liquid droplets formed by the condensation of vapours, usually around appropriate nuclei or the ‘atomisation’ of liquids. The aerodynamic diameter of a particle is the diameter of a sphere of unit density that would settle at the same rate.
When airborne particles come in contact with the wall of the conducting airway or a respiratory unit they do not become airborne again. This constitutes deposition and can be achieved in one of four ways:
Sedimentation is settlement by gravity and tends to occur in larger airways.

Inertial impaction occurs when an airstream changes direction especially in the nose but also in other large airways.

Interception applies mainly to irregular particles such as asbestos or other fibrous dusts which by virtue of their shape can avoid sedimentation and inertial impaction. However they are intercepted by collision with walls of bronchioles especially at bifurcations or if the fibres are curved.

Diffusion is the behaviour of very small aerosol particles which are randomly bombarded by the molecules of air. It significantly influences deposition beyond the terminal bronchioles.

Most compact particles larger than 20 microns aerodynamic diameter and about half of those of 5 micron aerodynamic diameter are filtered within the nose during breathing at rest. However there is a wide variation in the efficiency of this among apparently normal subjects.

Moreover conditions which favour mouth breathing, (e.g. high ventilation rates and obstructive disease of the nasal airways) will cause large particles to bypass this filter. Alveolar deposition is appreciable at particle diameters of between 1 and 7 microns (respirable particles) and probably maximal at aerodynamic diameter of between 2 and 4 microns. During regular breathing at rest only about 10% of compact particles of 0.5 to 1 micron diameter are deposited in the lung (alveoli), the bulk being again exhaled.

During exertion, increase in tidal volume (i.e. the volume of air inspired with each breath) and particularly in respiratory minute volume (i.e. the product of tidal volume and the number of breaths per minute) is the single most important determinant of the total load of particles in the alveoli and hence the total volume of particles deposited for a given aerosol. Several other factors may influence particle deposition. Insoluble particles deposited in the conducting airways are propelled towards the larger airways by the cilia and then rapidly coughed or swallowed. This may be delayed by factors such as tobacco smoking. In the respiratory units, ingestion by macrophages is necessary before the particles are carried to the larger airways. Particles may also penetrate the deeper lung tissue where they may stay for years or be transported by macrophages to the lymph nodes.

Vapours and gases

Vapours are substances in the gaseous phase at a temperature below their boiling point. Gases produce their harmful effects in the following ways (as described below):
(1) They can cause asphyxiation (deprivation of oxygen to the tissues);

(2) They can cause irritation of the airways and the lungs;

(3) After entering the body through the lungs they can cause damage to other tissues of the body.

Health Effects of Dusts, Gases and Vapours

Nuisance dusts are relatively inert and, by definition, cause no serious health effects although they may be irritant to the upper airways. Examples include chalk, limestone, and titanium dioxide (provided they are free of toxic impurities). They may cause radiographic changes without disease. Dusts should be considered as nuisance dusts only when there is good evidence that they are inert and free from significant health effects not when evidence for an effect is lacking. Moreover there is now good evidence that ultrafine particles of dusts previously considered inert, such as titanium dioxide can be toxic.
Diseases Mainly of the Respiratory Units

Pneumoconiosis

Pneumoconiosis is the non-neoplastic (i.e. excludes cancer) reaction of the lungs to inhaled mineral or organic dust and the resultant alteration in their structure. It also excludes diseases mainly of the airways like asthma, bronchitis and emphysema (although destruction of alveoli as in emphysema can be caused by dusts). Two important pneumoconioses are coal workers pneumoconiosis and silicosis.
Coalworkers’ pneumoconiosis (cwp) is a pneumoconiosis caused by inhalation of coal dust and is more prevalent in underground workers exposed to higher concentrations of dust than in surface workers. The lung is destroyed by fibrosis and emphysema.

Silicosis is a pneumoconiosis caused by inhalation of quartz (or some other crystalline forms of silicon dioxide) which is lethal to macrophages that ingest it and releases their enzymes. In its early stages it is similar to cwp but the nodules in the lung tend to be denser. It is a serious and progressive disease. A number of exposures such as grit / sand-blasting with silica have essentially been banned because of the risk of this serious condition.

The term mixed dust fibrosis describes the pulmonary disorder caused by the inhalation of silica dust simultaneously with another non-fibrogenic dust. Other mineral pneumoconiosis may be caused by beryllium, talc, kaolin and mica.

The image alongside shows a quarry worker gently pushing an explosive charge down a hole bored in the rock. The reel next to his right foot contains a cable to permit detonation from a safe distance. As well as the obvious trauma hazard, this procedure (shot-blasting) can generate large concentrations of silica dust.

Environmental Lung Disease

Asbestosis, and other asbestos-related lung disease

Asbestos is such an important cause of lung disease that it is now discussed on a separate page in this website: Asbestos and Disease.


The accompanying image shows asbestos bodies in human bronchoalveolar fluid obtained through bronchoalveolar lavage by the author for diagnostic and research purposes from a symptomatic worker who had significant exposure to asbestos (note alveolar macrophage cells adherent to the larger body, close to a large multinucleated giant cell, while in the bottom right hand corner a smaller body has probably been engulfed by a couple of the cells).
Asbestosis is often classified separately from pneumoconiosis even though asbestos is a dust -but it is a special form of fibrous dust. Like silicosis, asbestosis is a serious condition which is incurable and can result in death at an early age. However, as is the case with many harmful substances it does require a certain inhaled dose of asbestos before there is a measurable risk of asbestosis.

Extrinsic allergic alveolitis

Extrinsic allergic alveolitis can be caused by sensitisation to many organic dusts mainly fungal spores, e.g. farmer’s lung and malt worker’s lung. It tends to affect the respiratory units of the lung rather than the conducting airways and may have ‘flu’ like symptoms in addition. In some respects it is similar to humidifier fever which might be caused by sensitisation to amoebae or algae.
Inhalation of oil mists may cause asthma, airways irritation, lipid pneumonia or other conditions depending on their composition.

Diseases Mainly of the Airways

Irritant effects of gases

Examples: Sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen dioxide, Ozone, Ammonia and Chlorine
These gases produce their harmful effect by irritating eyes, airways and even the respiratory units of the lungs. Many of them may be detected by their smell and irritant effect, but if evasive action is not taken in time, and if exposure is high enough they can produce severe damage throughout the lungs.

Occurrence: Exposure to ammonia and chlorine occurs as a result of industrial accidents. High levels of nitrogen dioxide can be encountered in agriculture (silo filling), during arc welding, as a result of shot firing in the mines and in the chemical industry. It can achieve high levels in the vicinity of internal combustion exhausts. Ozone is usually a secondary pollutant. Sulphur dioxide results from the combustion of sulphur containing substances.

Symptoms: Sulphur dioxide, chlorine, and Ammonia are highly irritant and cause pain in the eyes, mouth and chest. In high concentrations they can produce inflammation of the lining of the lungs and this causes breathlessness and may be fatal. (See chronic effects below).

Nitrogen dioxide has less effect on the eyes, nose and mouth but can cause severe inflammation of the lungs. It is important to realise that although symptoms at first may be mild, serious breathing problems may follow later if the exposure is high enough.

Asthma

Asthma is a condition characterised by inflammation of the lining of the airways and intermittent spasm of the underlying smooth muscle. Comparatively more is known about the cause of asthma caused by work (occupational asthma) than about other forms of asthma. It is often but not always the result of allergy to an inhaled dust or vapour in the workplace. Its symptoms include cough, wheeze, chest tightness and shortness of breath which improve on days off work or longer holidays but the association with work may be difficult to establish in some cases. In the UK there are probably more than 2000 new cases every year and there have been a few fatalities from agents such as isocyanates or reactive dyes.
Important causative agents include:-

Isocyanates (e.g. in twin-pack spray paints), Hardening/curing agents e.g. anhydrides, Rosin (colophony) fumes from soldering flux, Dusts from various cereals (including flour), Animals such as mammals (rats, mice) but also arthropods (such as locusts), Wood dusts – various e.g. Canadian red cedar, Aldehydes e.g. formaldehyde or glutaraldehyde, Cyanoacrylates (as in “superglue”), and Antibiotics.

In the home, exposure to allergens from house dust mites can be a contributing factor in the development of asthma as well as a cause of its symptoms. Other allergens from pollen, moulds, animal dander etc can cause asthmatic symptoms. Outside the home in the general environment increase in asthmatic symptoms has been attributed to exposure to soya bean dust and to oil seed rape. The contribution to the causation of asthma by irritant gases such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and ozone is still unclear, although it is known that these substances can certainly aggravate symptoms in those who are already asthmatic.

Chronic Bronchitis

The best documented and probably most important environmental cause of chronic bronchitis is tobacco smoke. Other substances could cause bronchitis but this is not yet clear. Certainly many substances (such as sulphur dioxide) can aggravate the symptoms of bronchitis and cause premature deaths from this condition, as occurred in the smogs that affected many big cities in the early 1950’s.
Cancer

Bronchial cancer

(“lung” cancer)
The single most important known environmental respiratory carcinogen by far in man is tobacco smoke. However lung cancer may also be caused by other agents e.g. asbestos, certain compounds of nickel, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) e.g. benzpyrene, arsenic trioxide and chromates.

Mesothelioma

Exposure to asbestos dusts probably of all kinds but especially of blue asbestos (crocidolite) causes mesothelioma which is a cancer of the pleural lining of the lung (besides an increased risk of lung cancer in the bronchus as with smokers). Hundreds of ex-workers still die of these diseases in the UK every year.
Cancer of the nose or nasal sinuses might be caused by certain dusts from hard woods, leather processes and nickel refining.

Systemic Effects

Dusts

Some dusts e.g. lead of its salts can be absorbed into the body after inhalation or skin contact. They can then have harmful effects on other organs e.g. the nerves or the blood forming organs. Ultrafine particles might travel through the alveoli to produce harmful effects elsewhere.
Systemically toxic gases and vapours

Examples: Methylene chloride, various chloroethanes and chloroethylenes. The effect of methylene chloride is similar to the effect of vapours given off by organic solvents (e.g. trichlorethylene). Initially they might cause a feeling of well being similar to that produced by alcohol. At higher concentrations they cause unconsciousness. Repeated exposure can lead to permanent brain damage.
Simple Asphyxiant gases

Life depends on an adequate supply of oxygen reaching the tissues of the body. Oxygen present in the air breathed into the lungs passes into the blood and is carried to the tissues. Simple asphyxiants may interfere with this process either by displacing oxygen from the air breathed in. Examples: Methane, Nitrogen. This happens usually in enclosed, poorly ventilated spaces particularly underground where methane can be produced by naturally occurring processes or where natural oxygen has been depleted. Symptoms include breathlessness due to lack of oxygen. Carbon dioxide also causes rapid breathing, headache and sweating. Eventually, loss of consciousness and death can result.
Chemical asphyxiants gases

These cause asphyxia by interfering with oxygen transport. Examples: Carbon monoxide, Hydrogen cyanide, Hydrogen sulphide. See toxicology – toxicodynamics.

References

Companion page on Occupational and Environmental Skin Disease

Information about the reported incidence of occupational lung disease in the UK and the Republic of Ireland is collected by SWORD and other surveillance schemes which are part of the THOR network at the University of Manchester.”

Have a great day!  Regards, Chris

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