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The impact of dust aerosols on cyclone activity

With the recent cyclone in Mozambique and the huge floods in KZN it’s interesting to read this article on the impact that aerosols have on monsoon rainfall in India.  Could the same sort of thing be affecting the rainfall on the west coast of Africa?  And then also, do cyclones affect dust fallout?  Take a look at these articles below – for the full articles, please click on the links provided.

_______________________________ Geoscience

“The Indian summer monsoon is influenced by numerous factors, including aerosol-induced changes to clouds, surface and atmospheric heating, and atmospheric circulation. Most previous studies assessing the effect of aerosols on monsoon rainfall have focussed on the local impact of aerosols on precipitation on monthly to seasonal timescales. Here, we show that desert dust aerosol levels over the Arabian Sea, West Asia and the Arabian Peninsula are positively correlated with the intensity of the Indian summer monsoon, using satellite data and models; a lead–lag analysis indicates that dust and precipitation vary in concert over timescales of about a week. Our analysis of global climate model simulations indicates that by heating the atmosphere, dust aerosols induce large-scale convergence over North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, increasing the flow of moisture over India within a week. According to these simulations, dust-induced heating of the atmosphere over North Africa and West Asia rapidly modulates monsoon rainfall over central India.”

Click the link for the full article.

Image from - In this photo taken on Friday, March 15, 2019 and provided by the International Red Cross, an aerial view of the destruction of homes after Tropical Cyclone Idai, in Beira, Mozambique. Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi says that more than 1,000 may have by killed by Cyclone Idai, which many say is the worst in more than 20 years. Speaking to state Radio Mozambique, Nyusi said Monday, March 18 that although the official death count is currently 84, he believes the toll will be more than 1,000. (Denis Onyodi/IFRC via AP)

Image from

New evidence for a relationship between Atlantic tropical cyclone activity and African dust outbreaks Gate

“It is well known that Atlantic tropical cyclone activity varies strongly over time, and that summertime dust transport over the North Atlantic also varies from year to year, but any connection between tropical cyclone activity and atmospheric dust has been limited to a few case studies. Here we report new results that demonstrate a strong relationship between interannual variations in North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity and atmospheric dust cover as measured by satellite, for the years 1982 – 2005. While we cannot conclusively demonstrate a direct causal relationship, there appears to be robust link between tropical cyclone activity and dust transport over the Tropical Atlantic.

The recent upswing in Atlantic tropical cyclones(including both hurricanes and tropical storms) affectingNorth America has raised the awareness of their impact onsociety and the economy. Currently, there is a debatesurrounding the cause of this observed increase in cycloneactivity. Several recent studies have explored the relation-ship between long– term trends in tropical cyclone activity(either in terms of their number or intensity) and environ-mental factors that may or may not be influenced byglobal warming [Emanuel, 2005a, 2005b; Landsea, 2005;Trenberth, 2005; Webster e t al. , 2005]. Other studies,however, have concluded that different environmentalfactors – not necessarily related to global warming –control trends in cyclone activity [Goldenberg et al., 2001;Knutson and Tuleya, 2004].[3] In this paper, we explore another possible contributorto changing North Atlantic tropical cyclone activity: the role of atmospheric dust. This hypothesis was first suggested byDunion and Velden [2004], who showed that tropicalcyclone activity may be influenced by the presence of theSaharan Air Layer, which forms when a warm, well-mixed,dry and dusty layer over West Africa is advected over thelow-level moist air of the tropical North Atlantic [Carlsonand Prospero, 1972]. The Saharan Air Layer rides over themarine boundary layer and can be a significant feature ofthe atmosphere as it transits over the North Atlantic, oftenseen as far away as the Caribbean (7,000 km west of theSahara Desert) [Dunion and Velden, 2004]. The Saharan AirLayer’s longevity is likely enhanced by the persistenttemperature inversions that exist at its base and top: daytimethermal heating by dust entrained within the Saharan AirLayer tends to counter nighttime radiative cooling, thuskeeping the Saharan Air Layer relatively warm and stable asit traverses the North Atlantic [Prospero and Carlson,1972].”

Click the link for the full article.


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

Fallout Dust Monitoring course – June 2019

Good day

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course is in June 2019 in Pretoria

11 – 13 June 2019 – Pretoria

The costs are in the attached files, R4400 per person per day.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.


Chris Loans

DustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring

082 875 0209 or 021 789 0847 (Chris)

083 308 4764 (Gerry)

021 789 0847 (Cape Town)

011 083 8750 (Johannesburg)

+1 832 422 5031 (USA)

0866 181 421 (Fax – SA Only)


To be removed from this list, simply reply with Remove at the front of the Subject line.

Cyclone Idai and Africa’s fossil fuel extraction

Landry Ninteretse of The Guardian (follow this link for the full article), made the statement (in March 2019) that fossil fuel extraction must end before more lives are lost due to storms and flooding in Africa.


Cyclone Idai shows the deadly reality of climate change in Africa
Landry Ninteretse

Vain promises and empty slogans have got us nowhere. Fossil-fuel extraction must end before more lives are lost.

As Africa climate week unfurls in Ghana, the countries of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe count the costs of Cyclone Idai, which ripped through villages and towns, taking hundreds of lives and leaving a trail of destruction.

For a continent already racked by the effects of the climate crisis, Idai is another chilling reminder of the destructive power of the kind of storms that will become more common as the world warms up.

The cyclone made landfall on 14 March, the same day that the One Planet Summit started in Nairobi, called by French president Emmanuel Macron. After picking up speed, with winds of 195km/h (120mph) accompanied by lashing rains, Idai caused flooding and landslides, ruining crops and roads, and has already affected millions of people. The city of Beira in Mozambique was hit the hardest, with nearly 80% of homes and public infrastructure destroyed.

While the most vulnerable communities are facing the real impact of climate change on the ground, national leaders at the One Planet Summit kept their talk inside comfortable and acclimatised rooms. During the summit, Macron encouraged global collaboration towards ensuring sustainable preservation of forests, and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya made a pledge to achieve at least 10% forest cover in the next three years.

These commitments would be laughable if it were not so tragic. Africa needs to do a lot more than that to build climate resilience. Cyclone Idai is another powerful demonstration of this.

While many countries appear to be already reducing carbon emissions and moving towards an energy transition, Africa’s coalfields are open for business. Along with a few Asian countries (Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh in particular), our continent continues to be an El Dorado for the coal cheerleaders and big business determined to carry on its coal-onisation. New plants are being planned from South Africa to Senegal, from Kenya to Mozambique, as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Côte d’Ivoire. Most of them are co-financed by the African Development Bank, on whose board sit members of African, European, North and South American and Asian governments.

This is the case for the coal-fired power plant projects in Bargny (in the suburbs of Dakar, Senegal), San-Pédro (Côte d’Ivoire), Lamu (Kenya), or the Thabametsi power station in Limpopo province, South Africa, near the border with Botswana.

The situation is pretty similar for the oil industry, a source of energy that continues to attract investors in Africa, a continent that accounts for 8% of global production, with 7.5m barrels a day. Despite the drop in the price of oil over the last five years, new players are added yearly to the list of majors companies, such as Total, Shell, Exxon, BP and Eni.

In Uganda, for example, a new field will be exploited, the fruit of the cooperation between Total, the Chinese company CNOOC, and the British company Tullow Oil. Perenco, a French-British company, has just set up in Gabon and DRC and plans to produce half a million barrels a day. In February 2019, Total announced the huge offshore discovery of gas-condensate and light oil in South Africa, which could contain 1bn barrels of total resources.

Even though Africa is estimated to produce just 4% of global carbon emissions – compared to 80% by the most industrialised countries (G20), it is the continent that pays the highest price. For us, climate change is not a future risk, it’s already a reality evident in wrecked families, lands and livelihoods, and hopeless children and young people who have no choice but to seek a future by migrating.

Everywhere on the continent, communities fear losing their land as each season hits one country after another with exceptional floods, unexpected storms and increasingly long droughts. Fauna and flora reserves have been running out, access to water has become a privilege, and extreme weather events have become more numerous and left families without homes or livelihoods.

Some assume that increasing forest cover or granting new billions in funding to governments plagued by bad governance and corruption will prevent such disasters from happening and solve the issue of global warming. This is an insult to people facing untold suffering in every corner of the continent, while new coal and mining infrastructure and carbon commodification continue to be allowed.

The proliferation of fossil-fuel projects is happening at the expense of people’s health, the climate and ecosystems. Yet the solutions to this crisis are also well known. They include ending coal extraction and mining, stopping the funding of new coal infrastructure – mines or power plants – and accelerating the investment in renewables.

International cooperation and funding from industrialised economies are necessary to combat climate change. And such efforts should start by not promoting or funding any fossil fuel projects anywhere in the world.”

Cyclone Idai and Africa's fossil fuel extraction - image from The Guardian


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

Review of the Mining Charter 2018

In March 2019, the Minerals Council released the following media statements regarding their application to review the Mining Charter.  For more information, please follow the link to the Minerals Council website.



Johannesburg, 27 March 2019: The Minerals Council South Africa advises that it filed an
application for the judicial review and setting aside of certain clauses of the 2018 Mining
Charter published by the Minister of Mineral Resources on 27 September 2018.

A decision to pursue this action was very reluctantly taken by the Minerals Council Board.
The Minerals Council has engaged in ongoing attempts to reach a compromise with the
Minister on certain provisions that are problematic for the industry, and which would be
detrimental to its sustainability. The Minerals Council has delayed bringing the application in
the hope that those discussions would be successful but, given the peremptory 180-day time
bar imposed by section 7(1) of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA), the
Minerals Council was obliged to launch the review proceedings on 26 March 2019, despite
the fact that the discussions are ongoing and may yet bear fruit.

Minerals Council CEO, Roger Baxter, notes that: “The Minerals Council and its members
remain fully committed to transformation of the mining sector in South Africa, with the aim of
achieving job creation, economic growth, competitiveness and social upliftment and
development. A transformed, growing and competitive mining sector would be a significant
catalyst for South Africa’s social and economic development and critical for the realisation of
the ambitions of the National Development Plan.

“But these goals will only be realised through a minerals policy framework that conforms to
the rule of law and principles of legality; and by administrative action which is lawful,
reasonable and procedurally fair and consistent in all respects with provisions of the
country’s legislation. The rule of law, regulatory certainty and the fair and even-handed
administration of laws are of the utmost importance in sustaining the mining industry, and
indeed the economy as a whole.”

For the full statement, go to the Minerals Council website and follow the links from there.

Review of the Mining Charter 2018


Johannesburg, 6 March 2019. Minerals Council South Africa CEO, Roger Baxter presented at the
annual PDAC convention in Toronto, Canada on 5 March. Mr Baxter’s presentation, titled: Enabling
the Renaissance of the South African mining sector, outlined the important contribution made by the
mining sector, the vast potential that still exists and the steps needed to enable South African mining
to realise its full potential.

Mr Baxter said: “The economic and transformational potential of mining is vast. Even in the absence
of a greenfields exploration boom in South Africa, mining investment could almost double in the next
four years if the country was to return to the top quartile of the most attractive mining investment
destinations. Given the industry’s commitment to real transformation, this would also materially
advance the entire country’s transformation agenda.”

Mr Baxter commented on the most recent Fraser Institute perceptions survey: “The significant
improvement from being close to the bottom decile of the Policy Perception Index (PPI) league table
at 81st out of 91 jurisdictions, to about two-thirds of the way down at 56th position out of 83 can, we
believe, be attributed to the early impacts of the shift of political leadership of the country and of the
industry in 2018 of President Cyril Ramaphosa and Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe.”
Mr Baxter outlined the Minerals Council’s view on steps needed to restore the South African mining
sector to the top quartile of the most competitive mining jurisdictions, including:

• Developing a social pact for competitiveness, growth and transformation between key
• Re-establishing trust with global mining and investment community.
• Significant crackdown on corruption and unethical leadership.
• Significantly improving licensing systems and turnaround times
• Creating a stable, predictable and competitive policy, regulatory and operating environment
that encourages long term investment in mining.
• Resolving Infrastructure constraints and uncompetitive costs.
• Developing a strategy to encourage exploration boom.
• Developing national strategies for each commodity.

The full presentation may be accessed at

For the full statement, go to the Minerals Council website and follow the links from there.


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

Hitching a Ride on Dust

Dust is not just made up of non-living elements – tiny microbes are catching a ride on dust particles and they are travelling the world!

Please click the links provided to read the full articles.

Hitching a Ride on Dust

Up in the Air: The Emerging Science of Dust and Sandstorm Microbes

Oxford Academic – GBE

Casey McGrath

On October 13, 2017, a sandstorm blew off the west coast of Africa, creating a plume of dust that stretched thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean and reached the Caribbean five days later. Each year, up to five billion tons of dust is ejected into the earth’s atmosphere, mostly from large deserts like the Sahara in Africa and the Gobi in Asia. Such dust plumes affect all regions of the planet, with some individual plumes even circling the globe.

In an expanding field of environmental microbiology, researchers have begun investigating the microscopic travelers that hitch rides on these dust plumes and transit the globe. Because of their origins in harsh desert climates, these bacteria, archaea, microbial eukaryotes (including fungi), and viruses may be especially good at surviving extreme conditions and adapting to new environments. As researchers in this emerging field, Hayedeh Behzad, Katsuhiko Mineta, and Takashi Gojobori of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia provide an overview of current knowledge and highlight the potential impacts on human and ecosystem health in a new review in Genome Biology and Evolution, “Global Ramifications of Dust and Sandstorm Microbiota” (Behzad et al. 2018). One thing that is clear is that, for a field of study still in its infancy, its potential ramifications are massive.

Behzad and colleagues detail several studies that indicate that dust and sandstorms may enable the spread of disease-causing microbes. For example, the fungal agents that cause valley fever can be found in desert soils, and epidemics in the southern United States appear to be correlated with the intensification of sandstorms (Tong et al. 2017). Perhaps more surprisingly, increased incidence of Kawasaki disease, a serious heart condition, in Japanese and U.S. children may be associated with a fungus found in winds originating from China (Rodo et al. 2014). Cases of measles (Ma et al. 2017), pulmonary tuberculosis (Wang et al. 2016), and influenza (Chen et al. 2010) may also be linked to the occurrence of dust and sandstorms. Finally, in a study suggesting just how far-reaching this phenomenon may be, several genetic sequences potentially belonging to meningitis pathogens were found in Saharan dust deposits within snow packs in the Swiss Alps (Meola et al. 2015).

As further detailed in the review by Behzad and colleagues, dust and sandstorm-derived microorganisms also have the potential to significantly affect the ecosystems to which these microbes are transported. Deposits of such microbes could impact the ecosystem services provided by microbial communities, affecting nutrient cycling and food chains. Notably, Saharan-derived dust samples in the Caribbean were found to contain Aspergillus sydowii, a fungus that infects corals and may be partially responsible for the declining health of the Caribbean coral reef (Garrison et al. 2003). In addition, pathogens carried by sandstorms may infect agricultural crops, with major implications for the global economy.

Teruya Maki at Kanazawa University in Japan, author of several studies on sandstorm-derived microbes, agrees with Behzad, Mineta, and Gojobori regarding the potential risks of these organisms: “Although the microbial communities associated with dust events are mainly composed of nonharmful populations…there is the possibility of pandemics [caused by] the spread of pathogens after the deposition of dust particles.” Maki, who discovered a link between Japanese outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and Chinese sandstorms (Maki et al. 2012), believes the review by Behzad et al. provides important information regarding the potential risks of such microbes to the general public. However, Maki also points out that among dust and sandstorm microbes, there may be species that provide benefits to humans as well. As an example, Maki’s research team has made a fermented food called natto using bacteria isolated from the air at 3,000 m, which is currently sold under the name “Sky Natto” in Japan.

The potential impacts of dust and sandstorm microbes make research in this field critical. Located at KAUST and surrounded by some of the largest deserts in the world, Behzad, Mineta, and Gojobori are well situated to investigate these microorganisms using cutting-edge technology. “Our laboratory is examining the potential impact of sandstorms on human health and the environment using metagenomic approaches,” notes Behzad on behalf of all three of the authors, an endeavor made possible by the state-of-the-art facilities at KAUST. While the majority of the current knowledge on this topic is derived from culture-based approaches, such technology has the potential to shed light on the ∼90% of environmental microbes that cannot currently be cultured.

In addition to advances in metagenomics, the authors anticipate that future research will benefit from improvements in culturing techniques and air sample collection. In particular, Behzad notes, “I would hope that within a decade or two, we would have sufficient tools necessary to explore airborne microbiomes at all levels of the atmosphere, not just when deposited on the surface.” Most importantly, however, Behzad, Mineta, and Gojobori believe that the establishment of large-scale, multidisciplinary collaborations across different laboratories will be key for unraveling the mysteries of this global phenomenon. “Unification of standardized methodological frameworks across different laboratories could facilitate reproducibility and comparison of data between different research communities. Such unified frameworks require considerable investments of time and resources to develop and perfect, but when used by the wider research community, they could help complete gaps in our current understanding of sandstorm-derived microbiota.”

Importantly, Behzad et al. point out that the study of these microbes and their impacts is especially urgent given the predicted increase in dust and sandstorm-related activity in the future due to global climate change. The authors note that over the past two decades, the number and intensity of the sandstorms in the region surrounding KAUST have been on the rise. Thus, a better understanding of the risks and effects of desertification may help to develop control measures or protective policies. Microbes are “necessary building blocks of living ecosystems,” concludes Behzad. “Studying them helps us unlock their potential and understand their influence on us. Studies of airborne microbiota enable us to monitor our environment for potential risks to human and ecosystem health.”


“Traveling Dust

Science Net Links

It may surprise you that dust can travel this far, but it can. Using some NASA satellites, such as the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer, scientists like Griffin can actually follow the path of dust clouds that form over the Sahara and cross the Atlantic Ocean.

How do these dust clouds make it across the sea? It seems that the same winds that push hurricanes across the Atlantic actually push the clouds of dust as well. It takes about 5-7 days for the dust clouds to move from the Sahara to the Caribbean and southeastern United States. But America doesn’t get hit from just Africa. It also gets dust from the Asian deserts. Once a cloud rolls off the coast of China, it takes about 9 days for it to move across the Pacific and arrive in the United States.

The dust clouds themselves are actually very large. In fact, they’re huge. They extend from the sea surface to as high as 10 kilometers. Griffin and his colleagues believe that the upper portions of the dust clouds serve to filter out UV light, which is lethal to microorganisms. As a result, the microbes at the lower levels are shielded from the light and survive the voyage. Scientists have found as many as 20-40 colonies of bacteria growing in some of these dust clouds. In addition to the bacteria, they also see virus-like particles that could infect plants and animals. According to the National Institutes of Health, airborne dust is a number one cause of respiratory stress worldwide, even without the microorganisms that are present in the dust clouds. So if it turns out that these microbes are able to cause diseases, that’s all the more reason to keep an eye on the levels of dust in the air.”


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

Dust Cycles

Some interesting research paper’s on dust and it’s cycles – both here and on Mars.  Links to the original articles are provided.


Dust cycle: An emerging core theme in Earth system science

Science Direct

“The dust cycle is an integral part of the Earth system. Each year, an estimated 2000 Mt dust is emitted into the atmosphere, 75% of which is deposited to the land and 25% to the ocean. The emitted and deposited dust participates in a range physical, chemical and bio-geological processes that interact with the cycles of energy, carbon and water. Dust profoundly affects the energy balance of the Earth system, carries organic material, contributes directly to the carbon cycle and carries iron which is vital to ocean productivity and the ocean-atmosphere CO2 exchange.

A deciphering of dust sources, transport and deposition, requires an understanding of the geological controls and climate states – past, present and future. While our knowledge of the dust cycle, its impacts and interactions with the other global-scale bio-geochemical cycles has greatly advanced in the last 30 years, large uncertainties and knowledge gaps still exist. In this review paper, we attempt to provide a benchmark of our present understanding, identify the needs and emphasise the importance of placing the dust issue in the Earth system framework.

Our review focuses on (i) the concept of the dust cycle in the context of global biogeochemical cycles; (ii) dust as a climate indicator; (iii) dust modelling; (iv) dust monitoring; and (v) dust parameters. The adoption of a quantitative and global perspective of the dust cycle, underpinned by a deeper understanding of its physical controls, will lead to the reduction of the large uncertainties which presently exist in Earth system models.”

To read the full article, click the link above.


Climate Cycles

Space Science – Nasa Ames

“The seasonal cycles of carbon dioxide (CO2), dust and water (H2O) couple to radiative and dynamical processes to produce the climate of Mars.

“One of our group’s main research goals is to further our understanding of carbon dioxide, dust and water cycles, the interactions between them, and how they have evolved throughout the history of Mars.”


Dust is a critically important component of Mars’ climate.

Dust is lifted from the surface, mixed and transported by the atmosphere, and pulled back to the surface by gravity. When dust is airborne, it affects the radiative balance of the atmosphere by absorbing and scattering visible light and absorbing and radiating in the infrared. Martian dust events have been observed to range in size from just meters across to hemisphere- or planet-encircling.

A low-level background haze of dust characterizes the atmosphere dust loading during northern spring and summer, while higher dust loadings dominate during northern fall and winter. Although the global atmospheric dust loading generally exhibits cyclic behavior, the dust cycle has the most year-to-year variability of the three climate cycles. The most dramatic example of this interannual variability is the presence of global dust storms that occur during some years and not others.”


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

Dust Cycles

Our Recent Training Course in Pretoria

Here are some pic’s of our recent training course held in Pretoria.  Remember to contact Chris Loans to book a place at the next training session!

Our Recent Training Course in Pretoria

Practical session in action!














Fallout Dust Monitoring course – May 2019

Good day

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course is in May 2019 in Rustenburg

08 – 10 May 2019 – Rustenburg

The costs are in the attached files, R4400 per person per day.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.


Chris Loans

DustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring

082 875 0209 or 021 789 0847 (Chris)

083 308 4764 (Gerry)

021 789 0847 (Cape Town)

011 083 8750 (Johannesburg)

+1 832 422 5031 (USA)

0866 181 421 (Fax – SA Only)


To be removed from this list, simply reply with Remove at the front of the Subject line.

Dust and the Palace of Westminster

A truly interesting read about removing and preserving the dust from the walls of the Palace of Westminster.  What does this dust tell us about the history of the Palace and of London itself?

Read the full article at The Guardian

Dust and the Palace of Westminster

The Ethics of Dust: a latex requiem for a dying Westminster

Jorge Otero-Pailos applied latex to walls in Westminster Hall to lift out centuries of dirt.

Two translucent latex sheets hang parallel to the east wall of Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster. They run the length of the thousand-year-old space, and reach from the top of the stone walls, beneath the medieval hammer-beam roof, right down to the floor. Walking between the wall and the hanging latex, one might think of an inner cloister, the sun filtered as if through alabaster, a honeyed light that’s always afternoon and autumn. But not now.

Given the material and its slight but noticeable odour, you might think it’s rubber-fetish day at Westminster (and it probably is, for some member or other). Cloth squares and rectangles are embedded in the yellowish, off-white latex, giving it a patched, uneven look. There are occasional smears of dirt, dark dribbles that look like old, coagulated blood, and lighter patches reminiscent of surgical dressings. Suppuration comes to mind. Wounds. Healing. Evidence. I cannot look at Jorge Otero-Pailos’s The Ethics of Dust without the associations tumbling in, seeing what isn’t there. Or rather seeing what is there, in the captured tide-lines and whorls of commonplace muck, but seeing something more, like the images one sees in the fire or an accidental smudge of paint, finding a pattern where none exists.

On the face of it the project is nothing more than the residue from stone restoration. Liquid latex was applied to the east wall of the thousand-year old hall, reinforced with fabric, then peeled off in two great, continuous lengths. As the material dried, the dirt in the wall migrated into the latex, leaving the wall itself rejuvenated, its surface returned to the original pale colour it had when medieval masons first dressed the stone. Cleaning stone is delicate work, but an almost everyday achievement for expert conservators today. The ethics of modern restoration and cleaning insist that the material itself isn’t harmed or discoloured or abraded by the restoration itself.

But what is in the collected dust and smears of dirt? Given the age and history of the building, and the thousands upon thousands who have walked through here, appeared on trial (including Guy Fawkes and Charles I), and lain in state (all those monarchs, and Winston Churchill), one asks if the dead shed skin, if anger and anxiety somehow permeate first the air and then the stone. The fires lit and torches burned, the miasma of excrement from the Great Stink of 1858 – when sewage lay piled in the summer drought up to six feet deep on the Thames foreshore – the smog of December 1952, the thickening air of the blitz, and who knows how much tobacco have all left traces.

Madrid-born Otero-Pailos is director of historic preservation at New York’s Columbia University. His The Ethics of Dust takes its title from an essay by John Ruskin, much of which concerned Venice and the Doge’s Palace, as well as Westminster Hall. Ruskin differentiated between restoration and conservation – the difference between destruction and preservation. Otero-Pailos’s Artangel project follows on from his own work cleaning the walls of the Doge’s Palace, the Palazzo Ducale in Venice. This might be taken as a companion piece, and as something that looks like art but maybe isn’t. If it is more than a demonstration of the conservator’s art and science (and one that took endless negotiation with the authorities at Westminster, before various ceremonial dignitaries, including Black Rod, could finally give it the nod), its resonance now has been hijacked by the ongoing disaster in British life.

In the five years since it was first conceived and executed, the sheets have themselves been kept in special conditions, to conserve them.”


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

Dust could be good for you

Could dust really be good for you?  Have a look at this.


“Bad news, neat freaks: Dust could be good for you

Globe and Mail – click to read the original article


Bad news, neat freaks. All that work you’ve done to keep your homes dust-free may be counter-productive.

A new study has found that household dust actually purifies the air by neutralizing harmful ozone, according to The Canadian Press.

The gross part is it’s the flakes of human skin in dust that gives it its ozone-fighting power.

Researchers from the American Chemical Society found that dust containing high amounts of squalene, a component in human skin, can reduce up to 15 per cent of ozone in the air. (Ozone, when present in the air we breathe instead of high up in the atmosphere, is a pollutant that can damage our lungs, The Canadian Press explains.)

“Dust is parts of…people that have been in that room,” researcher Charles Weschler told The Canadian Press. “I mean, that’s a gross way of thinking about it.”

Squalene is present in the oils of our skin, which makes humans “remarkably good ozone sinks,” Dr. Weschler said.

Humans shed up to 500 million skin cells per day, so just think of all the ozone-neutralizing bits of your body that are scattered around your home.

The Canadian Press warns you may not want to retire your feather duster just yet, though.

Sure, it may clear up some of the ozone in the air, but the dust itself can leave allergy-sufferers wheezing.

What do you think? Does the thought of being surrounded by bits of skin make you want to clean your house more or less?”

Dust could be good for you

And here’s some more from Ask Doctor K …..

Is dust dangerous?

Ask Doctor K –

I keep a tidy house, but no matter how much I clean, there’s more dust than I’d like. Is dust dangerous to my family’s health?

Yes, depending on its contents, dust can be harmful to your health.

What is dust? It’s a little like sausage: You don’t want to know what’s in it. But I’ll tell you anyway.

More than half of household dust comes from soil either tracked into the home or wafting in as airborne particles through doors and windows. The remainder of dust is a hodgepodge that includes skin cells from family members, skin cells and fur from household pets, carpet fibers, kitchen grease — and more.

Household dust often contains remnants of household chemicals and possibly even heavy metals. It also contains bacteria, fungi and dust mite (insect) particles that can trigger allergies. In particular, the debris dust mites leave behind can provoke powerful allergic reactions.

The most vulnerable family members are the youngest: Infants are up to 100 times more susceptible to the health hazards of dust-borne pollutants than adults.

Perhaps the most effective way to control dust levels is with regular housekeeping. Frequent vacuuming, preferably using a vacuum cleaner with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, is a good place to start. It may be necessary to vacuum several times a week.

Cleaning can temporarily launch into the air dust that has settled on floors, carpets and furniture. People with respiratory allergies should consider wearing a mask that filters out dust when they clean. One way to capture the dust that gets stirred up is to clean higher surfaces first and then work your way down. Wiping floors and hard surfaces with a damp cloth or sponge will eliminate a lot of dust. You can also use products like Grab-it or Swiffer that are treated with chemicals to attract dust.

You should consider putting heavy-duty doormats in front of doorways to stem the amount of soil coming into your house. Even better: Remove your shoes upon coming inside.

Install weatherproofing around doors and windows to help keep out airborne particles. Filters on heating and air conditioning systems should reduce dust. Portable air cleaners with HEPA filters are another option. Air purifiers are a less effective option than HEPA filtration, and they may emit small amounts of ozone, a gas that can worsen asthma symptoms.

I’ve talked about how dust in the home can trigger allergies, so you’d think that dust is just plain bad. But it may not be that simple. New research indicates that newborns and very young children who grow up in relatively “dirty” surroundings, such as farms, may actually be protected against developing allergies and allergic diseases (such as asthma) later in life. I’m not urging you to keep a dusty home for the first few years of a child’s life, but someday you may hear that advice!”


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