Category Archives: News

Why monitor dust in the workplace?

This is a great article by Josh Thomas of Enviro-tech on the importance of monitoring dust in the workplace.  Enjoy the read!

Please note that the regulations stated are applicable in the United Kingdom.

Monitoring dust in the workplace

“Why monitor dust in the workplace?

Almost any place of employment can present a potential threat to health and safety from airborne particulates and aerosols. It is important to note, however, that dust hazards are not necessarily visible to the human eye and that the finest particles can represent the greatest threat because of their ability to travel deepest into the lungs. Effective monitoring is therefore key to the implementation of an effective risk management strategy.

There are two major reasons for monitoring dust in the workplace; to enable air quality management, and for regulatory compliance. The immediate effects of dust can be irritation to eyes, headaches, fatigue, coughing and sneezing. As such, poor indoor air quality can lower employee performance and cause increased absenteeism through sickness. In addition, particulates are known to create long-term deleterious effects, contributing to serious illnesses. In combination with outdoor exposure (to pollution form vehicles for example), the Government has estimated that 29,000 premature deaths occur in the UK every year as a result of particle pollution. This means that, particularly in urban areas, natural ventilation may not necessarily improve indoor air quality.

Employers are responsible for ensuring that staff and visitors are not exposed to poor air quality in the workplace, so it is necessary to conduct monitoring. Accurate and effective monitoring data can be used to check exposure levels and to help identify safe working practices.

Monitoring also helps to demonstrate compliance with relevant regulations. COSHH is the law that requires employers to control substances that are hazardous to health. According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), employers can prevent or reduce workers’ exposure to hazardous substances by finding out what the health hazards are; by deciding how to prevent harm to health; by providing effective control measures; by providing information and training; by providing monitoring and health surveillance, and by planning for emergencies.

In order to evaluate workplace safety, monitoring data is compared with Workplace Exposure levels (WELs) which prescribe the maximum exposure level to a hazardous substance over a set period of time. Failure to comply with COSHH and WELs can result in financial penalties, prosecutions and civil claims.

Indoor air quality is affected by both internal and external factors. Air pollution may arise from external sources such as neighbouring factories, building and development activities, or from vehicles – especially those with diesel engines. Internally, air quality is affected by working practices and business processes. For example, dust may arise from raw materials such as powders, or it may be produced by processes that generate particulates; including dust, mist, aerosols and smoke. In all cases, internal and external, it is important to identify both the source and the seriousness of the problem, so that appropriate and effective mitigation measures can be implemented. These might include, for example, ventilation, process dust prevention, the management of shift patterns, personal protection equipment (PPE) and alarm systems.

Regulatory Requirements to Monitor

Under the Workplace (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, employers have a legal duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of employees. Furthermore, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to assess and control risks to protect their employees. A key element of this is the requirement to comply with the COSHH Regulations. The HSE says that exposure measurement is required:

• For COSHH assessment, to help select the right controls

• Where there is a serious risk to health from inhalation

• To check that exposure limits are not exceeded

• To check the performance of exposure controls

• To help select the right respiratory protection equipment

• To check exposure following a change in a process

• To show any need for health surveillance; or

• When an inspector issues an ‘Improvement Notice’
requiring monitoring

The COSSH Regulations include dust, mist, vapour, fumes and chemicals, but they do not cover Lead or Asbestos. Specific requirements exist for certain industries such as construction. Generally, WELs relate to particulate diameter because the health effects of particulates are heavily influenced by their size.

Inhalable dust is that which enters the nose or mouth during breathing and is available for deposition in the respiratory tract. It includes particles with a width between 2.5 and 10 microns (PM2.5 – PM10), and the WEL for this fraction is 10 mg/m3 as an 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA).

Respirable dust is the fraction that penetrates deep into the gas exchange region of the lungs. It includes particles with a width between 1 and 2.5 microns (PM1– PM2.5), and the WEL for this fraction is 4 mg/m3 as an 8-hour TWA. Lower specific WELs exist for particulates that present a greater threat to health. For example, Silica dusts have a WEL of just 0.1 mg/m3 respirable dust as an 8-hour TWA.

The Costs of Non-Compliance

In addition to the enormous numbers of premature deaths that result from exposure to outdoor air pollution, there are also numerous well-documented instances demonstrating the harm caused by exposure to indoor pollution from dust, smoke, aerosols and vapour. For example, a 46-year-old cook developed breathing problems after working with flour in a school kitchen with poor ventilation. Her breathing problems became so severe that she could hardly walk and had to sleep sitting up. She became severely asthmatic and had to retire early on health grounds. With the support of her Union she made a compensation claim on the basis that decent working conditions were not provided, and the council admitted that it had not taken sufficient action despite repeated complaints. Consequently, the courts awarded the cook £200,000 in damages.

In another example, between 1995 and 2004, a solderer was exposed to rosin based solder fumes and suffered health deterioration and breathing problems including asthma. An investigation conducted by the HSE found that the company did not have adequate control measures in place and failed to install fume extraction equipment. Furthermore, the company did not employ rosin-free solder until December 2003, despite an assessment having identified the need in 1999. The company was subsequently fined £100,000 with £30,000 costs, a punishment which attracted both local and national media attention.

Monitoring Dust

A wide variety of methods exist for the measurement of dust, and the choice of equipment is dictated by the application. For example, it is obviously important to employ a technology that is able to measure the particulates that will be present. In addition, it will be necessary to determine whether monitoring should be continuous, at a single point, or whether portable instruments are necessary to check multiple locations. Monitoring might be conducted in a work space, or personal sampling might be undertaken in order to assess the exposure of an individual over an entire shift.

Personal Sampling Pumps represent the preferred method for workplace exposure monitoring where it is necessary to demonstrate regulatory compliance or where legal dispute is a possibility. An HSE document (MDHS 14/4) provides workplace exposure monitoring guidance for collecting respirable, thoracic and inhalable aerosol fractions. The samples collected by this process are analysed in a laboratory, which means that chemical analysis is also possible. However, the sampling method incurs a delay and incurs extra cost.

In response to the wide variety of applications and monitoring requirements, Ashtead Technology stocks a comprehensive range of monitors for both sale and rental, providing customers with complete financial and technical flexibility. As a TSI Gold Partner, Ashtead Technology provides a comprehensive range of maintenance and calibration services; helping customers to ensure that their monitoring equipment remains in optimal condition. Ashtead’s fleet of rental equipment includes large numbers of the latest TSI instruments, supported by the highest levels of service and technical assistance. Employing advanced light-scattering laser photometers, the TSI products are supplied with a calibration certificate and provide real-time, direct-reading aerosol monitoring and analysis of different particulate fractions in workplace, cleanroom, HVAC, fugitive emissions and environmental monitoring applications.

The TSI range of dust monitors is continually being developed to bring new levels of functionality to the market. For example, the new lightweight AM520 Personal Dust Monitor is able to measure and log PM10, Respirable (PM4), PM5 (China Respirable), PM2.5, PM1 or 0.8µm Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM), providing real-time audible and visual alarms, and running from a rechargeable battery for up to 20 hours. For outdoor applications, the MCERTS approved Environmental DustTrak is web-enabled, providing a quick and easy dust monitoring solution for applications such as building and development projects.”

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

Dust From Factory Farms

Agricultural activities can cause a lot of dust – but what is it that is in that dust?  Tom Philpott reports for Mother Jones on the topic of what is carried in the dust from factory farms.

Factory Farms - dust

“Dust From Factory Farms Carries Drugs, Poop Bacteria, and Antibiotic-Resistant Genes Far and Wide

Ever approached a feedlot teeming with thousands of cattle? Unlike industrialized hog and chicken farms, where huge enclosed buildings trap at least some of the smell, cattle feedlots are open-air—as anyone who has driven Highway 5 between Los Angeles and San Francisco can testify. Turns out, when you inhale the aroma, you’re not just getting a blast of ammonia and other noxious fumes. You’re also probably breathing in tiny particles of antibiotics, bacteria from cows’ “fecal matter and  gut flora,” and antibiotic-resistant gene sequences. That’s the conclusion of a new study from Texas Tech researchers, who analyzed air samples taken just downwind of ten cattle feedlots in Texas and states to the north, each containing between 20,000 and 50,000 cows.

The team placed portable air samplers 10-20 yards upwind and downwind of feedlots in the fall and winter months, when temperatures are mild and wind is moderate, and analyzed the particulate matter. Monenisin, an antibiotic growth promoter widely used on beef and dairy feedlots, turned up in 100 percent of samples, at much higher rates downwind (mean: 1,800 parts per billion) than upwind (below the level of measurement.) Now, monenisin isn’t used in human medicine, meaning that it doesn’t directly contribute to antibiotic resistance that affects us. But tetracycline antibiotics—used commonly to treat urinary tract infections and pink eye—showed up in 60 percent of the downwind samples and 30 percent of the upwind samples, again at much lower levels upwind.

To put these findings in perspective, the authors note they found antibiotics in the air outside of these feedlots at levels similar to those typically found within large enclosed hog operations—meaning that finding yourself 20 yards from a giant cattle lot is a lot like being inside a hog house.

They also found bacteria “common to fecal matter and gut flora” at significantly higher levels downwind than upwind, including several that can cause human infections, including including corynebacterium, Leptospira, Clostridia, Bacteroides, and Staphylococcus.

And they picked up gene sequences that confer resistance to tetracycline at rates ranging from 100 to more than 1,000 times higher downwind than upwind. And get this: Those tetracycline-resistant genes appeared at much higher rates than those typically found in the liquid manure lagoons that build up in beef feedlots—meaning that wind may be even more prolific than water at spreading antibiotic-resistant genes from the farm to the surrounding region.

So how is all this nasty stuff moving from the feedlot to the surrounding air? The authors offer a simple explanation: The ground in feedlots “consists primarily of urine and fecal material,” the study notes. In the morning, all of that … stuff is relatively stable, held more or less in place by moisture from humidity. But after hours of sunlight, the floor material “becomes dry and brittle, thus becoming source material for fugitive dust.”

So what does this all add up to? The study doesn’t comment on whether the particles the researchers found are at high enough levels to directly cause human harm. But that’s not the main concern—most of us don’t spend much time near massive concentrated cattle operations. (Feedlot workers are another story.) The larger issue is those antibiotic genes, traces of antibiotics, and fecal microbes that are being scattered far and wide. The authors note that of the nation’s 2,100 large-scale (1000 head or greater) cattle feedlots, more than three-quarters are in the region of area study, the southern Great Plains (a swath stretching from northern Texas through parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado)—the very region with the “highest frequency of dust storms in the United States.” The region’s semi-arid conditions—as well its its propensity for prolonged droughts—provides an ideal environment for the “wind scouring of dry soils,” and “aerial transport and deposition” of feedlot particles into “surrounding soil surfaces, water surfaces, vegetation, and other living organisms.”

And that’s under calm weather conditions. “Fronts and other major weather patterns frequently sweep through this region, and are often associated with exceedingly high wind velocities which themselves transport significant masses of particulates into the atmosphere and across the region and continent,” they add. And once in the environment, resistance genes can jump from bacteria that don’t pose a threat to humans to ones that do, the authors note.

The study is yet another reminder that the massive amounts of waste generated on factory farms don’t stay on factory farms.”

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

Roadside Dust

Do we know what kind of harm our cars are doing to the environment? The University of Pennsylvania did a fascinating study of roadside dust.  Take a read.

Roadside Dust

Analyzing roadside dust to identify potential health concerns
by University of Pennsylvania

https://phys.org/news/2018-09-roadside-potential-health.html

“Everyone knows that cars contribute to air pollution. And when most people consider the source, exhaust is usually what comes to mind.

However, new research led by the University of Pennsylvania’s Reto Gieré, working with collaborators across the world, is helping to illuminate another significant culprit when it comes to traffic-related air pollution: Tiny bits of tires, brake pads, and road materials that become suspended in the air when vehicles pass over.

“More and more I’ve noticed that we don’t know enough about what is on our roads,” says Gieré, professor and chair of Penn’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science in the School of Arts and Sciences. “If you have lots of traffic, cars, and trucks driving by, they re-suspend the dust on the roads into the atmosphere, and then it becomes breathable. To understand the potential health implications of these dust particles, it’s really important to understand what’s on the road.”

While regulatory efforts have helped make cars cleaner and more efficient, those restrictions do not address the pollution that arises from tire and brake wear. Increasing urban congestion stands to aggravate these as sources of pollution and possibly adverse health effects.

“About 4 million people die prematurely from air pollution each year,” says Gieré. “From unsafe water the number is 2 million. Yet we have a United Nations Sustainable Development Goal about water pollution but not one about the air.”

To shed light on the contents of traffic-related dust and the conditions that make it more likely to accumulate, Gieré has teamed with German colleagues from the Federal Highway Research Institute, the German Meteorological Service, and the University of Freiburg to sample and analyze the air along roadsides. In 2017, they published the findings of a year-long sampling effort along two highly frequented motorways in Germany, one subject to more stop-and-go traffic and another in a more rural area bordered by agricultural fields.

To passively collect the dust along the roadsides, they used customized cylindrical samplers with a transparent sticky foil at the bottom to trap particles that make their way in. The researchers checked the collection points and switched out the sticky “trap” weekly.

Using optical microscopy to analyze the collected airborne particles, the team found that the site with busier traffic patterns had 30 percent more particles overall, with a greater fraction derived from tire wear. Weather factored significantly into the patterns they observed; dry and warm conditions were associated with a greater build-up of particles.

“At higher temperatures we saw more tire abrasion, more pollution than at intermediate temperatures,” Gieré says. “This was exactly analogous to what two laboratory studies found.”

With higher temperatures and more dry spells predicted under climate change, Gieré notes that this problem of tire abrasion may only get worse, “which is significant,” he says, “because nearly 30 percent of the microplastics released globally to the oceans are from tires.”

In a more recent study, published last month in Aerosol and Air Quality Research, Gieré and colleagues used powerful scanning electron microscopy to more precisely identify the make-up of the particles collected from the two motorways studied in the 2017 report as well as a third collection site, at an urban highway with slower-moving traffic.

“The optical microscope gives us a first approximation,” Gieré says, “while the scanning electron microscope allows us to distinguish between tire abrasion, brake abrasion, carbon, or find out if there are minerals in there.”

Taking a further step, the team also ran samples through an analysis that provides information about the elements that compose each specimen, called energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy.

This study focused on the “super coarse” particles collected, those greater than 10 micrometers in size. (For comparison, a human hair is roughly 75 micrometers in diameter.) While still tiny, these particles pose less of a health threat than those even smaller, which are more easily inhaled. Still, these larger particles can wind up in waterways and soil, affecting wildlife or possibly even agricultural crops.

Ninety percent of the dust particles collected from the three sites were traffic-related and the researchers again saw differences between the sites. The slower-moving traffic on the urban road generated fewer particles from brake wear but more from tires; they noted that the tire rubber became encrusted with minerals and other materials from the roads. The highway with more stop-and-go traffic generated more brake particles.

Tire and brake pad manufacturers do not disclose all the contents of their products, but it’s known that zinc, lead, antimony, silicates, cadmium, and asbestos are used by some. These are chemicals that can pose a health risk if they get into the environment or, if the tires are burned as they sometimes are by coal plants, the atmosphere.

“These coarse particles aren’t going to be transported very far, so pollution is going to be restricted to the vicinity of these roads, especially during congestion,” Gieré says. “But they do also collect on the road and then wash into rivers. Our team believes that’s a major pathway of how microplastics get into waterways.”

One way to reduce this avenue of pollution would be traffic-calming measures, such as coordinated traffic lights, that reduce the amount of starting and stopping that drivers must perform. Gieré and colleagues, including Ph.D. student Michael O’Shea, are also performing similar experiments on the streets of Philadelphia and comparing the pollution levels between different neighborhoods to see what is happening a little closer to home.”

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

Rock Dust – Good or Bad?

Here are two opposing articles to read on the subject of adding rock dust to your garden / agricultural land.  Take a read – what do you think?  Rock dust – good or bad?

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Topping Soil With Rock Dust Could Suck Billions of Tons of CO2 From the Air and Increase Crop Nutrients

By Andy Corbley -Jul 14, 2020

Good News Network

“Spreading the dust of basalt rock over fallow fields could drain billions of metric tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year, says a new study published in Nature.

According to a team of primarily English scientists, mitigation of the worst effects of human-caused climate change will require both cutting carbon emissions, and the gradual removal of already existing greenhouse gases.

Soils normally absorb carbon from the atmosphere, but when mixed with the dust of basalt, which is rich in calcium and magnesium and also very abundant (as a mining and mineral by-product) you get a 2-fold benefit—crop production that is more nutrient, and an accelerated absorption of CO2.

The mixing of dust and soil increases the alkalinity, dissolving CO2 into non-organic carbon forms such as hydrogen carbonate ions: HCO3. These carbon-sequestering ions are removed via rainwater, and transferred to the ocean through runoff and drainage systems where they will act as carbon-prisons for 100,000 years.

“The logistical infrastructure to apply basaltic rock dust to managed croplands already exists owing to the common need to apply crushed limestone to reverse soil acidification resulting from intensive cropping,” write the authors in their study. “Thus, rapid deployment at large scale appears to be feasible…and has important ancillary benefits including mitigation of ocean acidification.”

If this can also cut the acid level in the ocean, which puts coral at risk, the idea now has a 3-fold benefit—a win-win-win.

“CO2 drawdown strategies that can scale up and are compatible with existing land uses are urgently required to combat climate change, alongside deep emissions cuts,” said Prof David Beerling, of the University of Sheffield, a lead author of the study. “ERW [dust spreading] is a straightforward, practical approach.”

Dust is even better than trees
Their modeling and analysis found that the emissions of serious CO2 producers Germany and Japan could be offset by treating half the world’s cropland with basalt dust, which would in theory be cheaper than other CO2 extraction strategies, with costs varying on local labor rates.

Tree-planting is mentioned in the study as a great way to extract CO2 from the atmosphere, but while mass-planting is often cheaper, the benefits are not as strong. Further they rely on the trees surviving a certain number of years for the benefits to fully take hold which is never a certainty.

Speaking with the Guardian, Prof. Breeling said of the basalt dust mixing: “If you could demonstrate to farmers in China and India, for example, that they are going to get crop yield increases and get paid $100 a ton for removing CO2, then it becomes really attractive.”

“Mining generates a continuous, but often discarded, finely powdered silicate by-product that is utilizable for dust mixing,” reads the study. They point out that it would require little to utilize existing silicate powders because of already existing mining infrastructure, potentially eliminating the CO2 generation from constructing tipper trucks, roads, or additional mines to produce the dust. Finally the authors mention that nations only need make an inventory of how much silicate byproduct they possess.

These numbers could then be plugged into their models and a more accurate and real-world assessment could be made on how far basalt dust mixing could go to reducing the effects of climate change.

And because it’s good for cropland, there are plenty of private sector incentives as well.”

Rock dust

(The article below has not been printed in full here – please follow the link to read the complete article)

Rock Dust – Can It Remineralize the Earth?

By: Robert Pavlis

Garden Myths

“Rock dust is a very popular soil additive especially with organic and permaculture groups. It is full of nutrients and adding it to soil will replenish all of the nutrients that agriculture has taken out of our soil. This process of adding nutrients back to soil is known as mineralization.

This seems to make a lot of sense. We remove food from the land, and the food contains lots of minerals. At some point we need to put them back into the soil or else we will have soil that won’t grow anything. This seems logical but is it really true? Is our soil losing fertility? If it is deficient, can rock dust be used to solve the problem? How effective is rock dust and which type of rock works the best? Time to crush some myths about rock dust.

To be effective the rock needs to be ground into a very fine powder. That way it is more easily used by microorganisms and decomposed by environmental elements.

Two common forms of rock, namely limestone and phosphate rock have been used for a long time to amend soil. Although these products are correctly called rock dust, they are usually not included when gardeners talk about rock dust, and I will exclude them from this post.

Is Rock Dust a Fertilizer?
Some commercial products call themselves a fertilizer and I even found one that was labeled like a fertilizer showing an NPK of 0-0-1, but by most legal definitions rock dust does not contain enough NPK to qualify as a fertilizer.

Claims Made for Rock Dust
Rock dust is claimed to add all kinds of minerals back to soil. These are the nutrients that plants need to grow. Because of this, rock dust products make all kinds of claims for growing bigger plants, producing higher yields, increasing disease resistance, etc. These are all valid claims if the soil is deficient of one or more nutrients and rock dust adds the missing nutrient.

There are two clear questions we must answer to validate these claims and I’ll do that in the rest of this post.

Does rock dust add plant available nutrients to soil?

Is soil deficient of nutrients?

If the answer to either question is no, rock dust will not help plants grow.

Mineral Content of Rock Dust
Rock dust does contain a lot of minerals. I have seen claims ranging from 60 up to 90 different minerals. Azomite is a common product and their analysis list of 74 minerals can be seen here.

I don’t dispute the claims, but there is no evidence that plants need all of these minerals. They use about 20 minerals – that’s it. The other 40 to 70 are not needed by plants.

Rate of Decomposition of Rock Dust
Earlier in this post, I posed the question, does rock dust add nutrients to soil. There is no doubt that adding rock dust adds the minerals, but I can also do that by laying a big bolder on top of the garden. The bolder will not help plants grow but it does add minerals to the garden. Unless the minerals in the rock decompose to release the nutrients in a form plants can use, there is little point in adding the rock dust.

For this reason I think that one of the most important questions we need to ask is, how quickly does rock dust decompose?

Some of my early reading on the matter indicated time frames of a hundred years. I have searched on many web sites selling rock dust and none have any claims or data to show decomposition happens even after 100 years or more. No one in the industry wants to put a number on this important property.

The best information I have is a casual comment that it is about 100 years. At that rate the product is essentially useless.

Are Soils Nutrient Deficient?
This is also an important question to ask. Do we have a problem that needs to be fixed?

I had a closer look at this question in a previous post called Is Soil Fertility Decreasing? My conclusion was that our soils are not losing fertility. They are not nutrient deficient. Therefore, rock dust, assuming it actually works, is a product that tries to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

What Does Research Say?
Some papers report some improvements in plant growth with some soils but many show no change. There is limited field work done – it is almost all lab work. I did not find a single paper that measured the chemical characteristics of soil before and after adding rock dust to the field – maybe you can find one for me.

There is some evidence that rock dust may provide an important source of potassium in regions like Africa that tend to have soils which leach nutrients quickly and where fertilizer costs are very high.

Rock dust is used extensively in Brazil and now Embrapa, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, has come out and said, “there is not enough scientific information to recommend silicate agrominerals as a source of nutrients, especially potassium, or soil conditioners for agriculture.”

The science does not support the use of rock dust for most agricultural areas and even the suppliers of rock dust suggest it has no value in alkaline soil.”

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

Airborne Dust: A Hazard to Human Health

I trust you will enjoy today’s article.  Have a great day!

Airborne Dust: A Hazard to Human Health

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

https://public.wmo.int/en/resources/bulletin/airborne-dust-hazard-human-health-environment-and-society

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Littering and Improper Garbage Disposal – Effects

What are the effects of littering and improper garbage disposal on our environment?  These articles answer those tough questions.

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The Effects of Littering on the Environment & Animals

https://sciencing.com/effects-littering-environment-animals-8634413.html

Updated April 17, 2018
By Catherine Irving

“As humans consume natural resources, they, too, create byproducts that enter Earth’s varied ecosystems. Plastic waste, water pollution, soil runoff, and jars and bottles make up just a few of the human-made products and byproducts that can harm the Earth and the species that live on it. The damage can be physical — six-pack rings strangling marine life — or chemical — fertilizers causing algal blooms — but in either case, they can cause lasting damage to the flora and fauna of an area.

Plastic Waste
Discarding plastic products, including grocery sacks, rapidly fills up landfills and often clog drains. When plastic litter drifts out to sea, animals like turtles or dolphins may ingest the plastic. The plastic creates health problems for the animals including depleting their nutrients and blocking their stomachs and intestines. Animals cannot break down plastic in their digestive system and will usually die from the obstruction. Pieces of plastic can also get tangled around animals’ bodies or heads and cause injury or death.

Water Pollution
Litter in Earth’s water supply from consumer and commercial use creates a toxic environment. The water is ingested by deer, fish and a variety of other animals. The toxins may cause blood clotting, seizures or serious medical issues that can kill animals. The toxic water may also kill off surrounding plant life on riverbanks and the bottom of a pond’s ecosystem. When humans eat animals that have ingested compromised water supplies, they also can become sick.

Soil Runoff
Runoff from litter, polluted water, gasoline and consumer waste can infiltrate the soil. The soil absorbs the toxins litter creates and affects plants and crops. The agriculture is often compromised and fails to thrive. Animals then eat those crops or worms that live in the soil and may become sick. Humans who eat either the crops or the animals feeding on the infected agriculture can also become ill.

Jars and Bottles
Discarded jars and bottles usually do not biodegrade naturally and add to humanity’s mounting litter problem. The litter remains in landfills and clogs sewers, streets, rivers and fields. Crabs, birds and small animals may crawl into the bottles looking for food and water and become stuck and slowly die from starvation and illness. The World Wide Fund for Nature reported some 1.5 million tons of plastic waste from the water bottling industry alone.”

Littering and Improper Garbage Disposal

The Effects of Improper Garbage Disposal

https://sciencing.com/the-effects-of-improper-garbage-disposal-4877867.html

Updated December 11, 2018
By Julie Boehlke

“Tossing everyday items into the trash can seem like second nature to many people. If you are implementing recycling techniques into your lifestyle, you are taking a positive step toward helping the environment. Learner.org notes that in the U.S. alone, over 230 million tons of trash is produced each year. Less than 25 percent of that waste is recycled and the rest ends up in landfills, incinerated or in ditches and roadsides. Improper garbage disposal isn’t just an eyesore; it poses a serious threat to nature.

Soil Contamination
It is important to learn the basics of recycling so that the waste that does end up in landfills can be disposed of properly. Plastics, metals, papers and certain types of glass can all be recycled at your local recycling center. If you take the time to send these items to recyclable locations, the items can be reused and returned to consumers. They won’t end up as trash or hurting the environment. If recyclables are placed into the ground they can potentially contaminate the surrounding soil. The Western Courier shares with readers that as plastic water bottles break down they can release DEHA, a type of carcinogen that can cause reproductive problems, liver issues and weight loss. This type of chemical can leach into the soil and cause contamination that can reach plant and animal life as well as water sources. Newspapers or paper that contains ink can be toxic to the soil as well. If the garbage is dumped or not contained properly in a landfill it will contaminate the surrounding ground.

Air Contamination
When disposing of garbage that contains harmful chemicals such as bleach, acid or oil it is important that it is disposed of in approved containers and labeled correctly. Paper, plastics and other materials that are burned can contaminate the air when they are burned. Over time the chemicals can build up in the ozone layer. If they contain toxic chemicals like dioxin they can reach the air that people breathe and cause a public health risk. Garbage that is disposed of improperly can also begin to release methane gases. According to the Energy Information Administration, these gases are greenhouse gasses that can destroy the earth’s ozone layer and contribute to significant climate changes or global warming.

Animals and Marine Life
Humans are not the only ones affected by improper garbage disposal—animals are too. Conservation International notes that garbage dumping and discharging raw or untreated sewage can threaten marine life and animals who come in contact with the water. When waste forms a cluster or algal bloom, the area can suffocate and contaminate sea bottom habitats such as coral and fish reducing their numbers. This contamination not only destroys their habitat it can also affect human consumption as fish and shellfish that were feasting off of contaminated areas reach fishermen and are caught for human consumption. Old fishing lures, plastic bottles, rope, Styrofoam, cigarette butts and fishing lines can be consumed by marine animals leading to the death of millions each year according to Conservation International.”

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Letting The Sunshine In

House dust contains a myriad of bacteria – what can we do to help?

We’re surrounded! House dust is a rich source of bacteria

https://phys.org/news/2008-04-house-rich-source-bacteria.html

“If you’ve always suspected there are unknown things living in the dark and dusty corners of your home and office, we are now one step closer to cataloging exactly what might be lurking in your indoor environment. Buildings have their own pattern of bacteria in indoor dust, which includes species normally found in the human gut, according research published in BMC Microbiology.

The microbial flora from indoor dust samples from two buildings was complex and dominated by bacterial groups originating from users of the buildings. The Finnish-based research team investigated the species level diversity and seasonal dynamics of bacterial flora in indoor dust by sequencing DNA from the dust samples collected.

“People spend most of their lives in different indoor environments: homes, schools, workplaces” explained microbiologist and lead researcher Helena Rintala. “And as such we are constantly challenged by airborne microbes. It is important then to understand the exact nature of this exposure and to be able to understand how it affects our health.”

Indoor dust samples were taken in 2003 from two nursing homes located in small towns in central Finland, 100 km apart. Both buildings were similar in age, building frame, ventilation, use and rural location. Offices in the two buildings were sampled at different times during 1 year to obtain four samples per building, one for each season

By examining dust samples taken from hard surfaces such as tables and floors using a vacuum cleaner, Rintala and her colleagues found that Gram-positive bacteria dominated. This group includes Staphylococcus and Streptococcus species that belong to the normal bacteria in humans. Approximately five hundred bacterial species were estimated to be present in the dust, which is relatively easy to collect and reveals a good picture of the total microbial exposure in indoor environments. Although the diversity of the bacteria differed according to seasons, the difference between the buildings was greater than the variation observed throughout the year within a particular building.

“So far most of our information about microbes in indoor environments has concentrated on fungi. Our results show basic information on bacteria. Although our findings are significant, we do need more research to find out where the microbes are coming from for instance, “ concluded Rintala.

Source: BioMed Central”

Letting the sunshine in may kill dust-dwelling bacteria

Letting the sunshine in may kill dust-dwelling bacteria
by BioMed Central

https://phys.org/news/2018-10-sunshine-dust-dwelling-bacteria.html

“Allowing sunlight in through windows can kill bacteria that live in dust, according to a study published in the open access journal Microbiome.

Researchers at the University of Oregon found that in dark rooms 12% of bacteria on average were alive and able to reproduce (viable). In comparison only 6.8% of bacteria exposed to daylight and 6.1% of bacteria exposed to UV light were viable.

Dr. Fahimipour said: “Humans spend most of their time indoors, where exposure to dust particles that carry a variety of bacteria, including pathogens that can make us sick, is unavoidable. Therefore, it is important to understand how features of the buildings we occupy influence dust ecosystems and how this could affect our health.”

Dust kept in the dark contained organisms closely related to species associated with respiratory diseases, which were largely absent in dust exposed to daylight.

The authors found that a smaller proportion of human skin-derived bacteria and a larger proportion of outdoor air-derived bacteria lived in dust exposed to light that in than in dust not exposed to light. This may suggest that daylight causes the microbiome of indoor dust to more strongly resemble bacterial communities found outdoors.

The researchers made eleven identical climate-controlled miniature rooms that mimicked real buildings and seeded them with dust collected in residential homes. The authors applied one of three glazing treatments to the windows of the rooms, so that they transmitted visible, ultraviolet or no light. After 90 days, the authors collected dust from each environment and analysed the composition, abundance, and viability of the bacteria present.

Dr. Fahimipour said: “Our study supports a century-old folk wisdom, that daylight has the potential to kill microbes on dust particles, but we need more research to understand the underlying causes of shifts in the dust microbiome following light exposure. We hope that with further understanding, we could design access to daylight in buildings such as schools, offices, hospitals and homes in ways that reduce the risk of dust-borne infections.”

The authors caution that the miniature room environments used in the study were exposed to only a relatively narrow range of light dosages. Although the researchers selected light dosages similar to those found in most buildings, there are many architectural and geographical features that produce lower or higher dosages of light that may need additional study.”

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

 

Drylands solution to climate change

An interesting article from The University of Derby (January 2020) says that new research offers a global drylands solution to climate change. Phys.org

Drylands - phys.org

“A new study published in the Journal for Geographical Research: Biogeosciences, led by a University of Derby academic, has shed new light on how microorganisms move through dryland landscapes attached to wind-blown dust and then alter the surfaces that they land on.

Drylands cover more than 40 percent of the global land area and are home to more than two billion people but are at growing risk of desertification, which makes the land unsuitable for grazing and agriculture, and causes hazards such as mobile sand dunes and dust storms.

The paper, “Surface Stability in Drylands is Influenced by Dispersal Strategy of Soil Bacteria,” was written with collaborators at Aberystwyth University and The Australian National University, and is part of a wider National Environment Research Council (NERC) funded project led by Loughborough University.

The team of researchers used a wind tunnel to analyse the dust eroded from the sandy soil on dry sand dunes in Australia. By comparing the microbes in the dust with the microbes in the source soil, researchers were able to identify which microbes contribute most to sticking soil together.

Dr. David Elliott, associate professor at the University of Derby explains: “In the world’s drylands, plants do not cover the soil surface as completely as they do in wetter regions leaving soils more exposed to weather and vulnerable to erosion by wind and water, which can lead to a reduction in soil quality.”

“Dryland soils that are not covered by plants do, however, usually have a thin covering of microbes that bind the soil together. These microbes are collectively called ‘biocrusts,” and they are important for stabilising dryland soils—meaning fewer dust storms, improved soil fertility, greater ability to hold onto rain water, and better opportunities for plants to establish.”

The researchers are now hoping to conduct further tests into how microbes disperse and interact with the landscape and evaluate the role of flooding in microbial dispersal to provide useful advice and possible interventions in managing the landscape.”

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

Terrifying Saharan Dust Storm

2020 is really proving to be a year of extremes!  Although Saharan dust blowing over to the United States is a yearly event, this year’s dust is proving to be quite terrifying.  The following article from Mother Jones explains more.

Dust Storm - Airborne dust particles -Terrifying Saharan Dust Storm

2020’s Latest Biblical Plague: A Terrifying Saharan Dust Storm Is Heading for the United States
The dust cloud is forecast to sweep across Texas and Louisiana this week.

MOLLY OLMSTEAD

June 26 2020

In what appears to be the latest biblical plague of 2020, a nearly 4,000-mile-long dust storm from the Sahara Desert is currently headed toward the southeastern coast of the United States.

This dust plume, known as the Saharan Air Layer, is a phenomenon that develops every year off the coast of Africa, where powerful winds from thunderstorms over the Sahel can push the dust many thousands of feet up into the atmosphere. A few times a year, that layer of dust sends out vast clouds that then drift over the sea.

But this year, the dust clouds that normally do little more than amplify sunsets have drifted far lower to coat Caribbean islands with a thin layer of dust and choke the air with a dry haze that in some places cut visibility by more than half. The cloud is forecast to sweep across the southeastern United States—Texas and Louisiana in particular—on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Another wave of dust is expected to follow.

According to the New York Times, in those areas affected by the dust, some people with asthma and underlying lung conditions might be at risk for irritation and discomfort. Those residents should avoid outdoor activities and monitor the air quality.

One good quality of these plumes is that they typically squash any early hurricane formations with their dry air. But according to the Washington Post, the dust can also deposit enough iron into the Gulf of Mexico to spur dangerous and noxious algal blooms. It’s also possible some of the microbes and nutrients carried in the dust play an important role in local ecosystems.”

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Why is air quality so important?

A few articles that explain why air quality is so important – vital both to personal health and the health of the economy.

Please follow the links to read the articles at source.

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“Why is air quality so important?
Here’s why Europe needs to tighten its legislation on threats to air quality from road vehicles, diesel machinery and sea-going ships.

https://www.transportenvironment.org/what-we-do/air-quality-and-transport/why-air-quality-so-important

How does air pollution affect us?
An adult breathes 15,000 litres of air every day. When we breathe polluted air pollutants get into our lungs; they can enter the bloodstream and be carried to our internal organs such as the brain. This can cause severe health problems such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases and even cancer and reduces the quality and number of years of life. (New evidence even suggests that every organ in the human body is harmed.) Vulnerable groups, namely children, people with chronic diseases, and the eldery, are particularly sensitive to the dangerous effects of toxic air pollution.

Polluted air also causes eutrophication and acidification of our ecosystems, which results in the loss of agricultural productivity, irreversible damage to ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity. Last but not least, air pollution causes severe damage to our cultural heritage by degrading architectural masterpieces that are part of our national and European identity.

How is the air quality in Europe?
In the EU 100 million sick days and more than 390,000 premature deaths can be attributed to air pollution every year. According to the European Environment Agency more than 95% of the EU’s urban population are exposed to dangerous levels of ozone pollution, three-quarters breathe excessive levels of particulate matter (PM2.5), and 7-8% are exposed to toxic levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Infringement procedures against 15 EU member states are ongoing for the breach of ambient air quality limits.

What is the economic cost of air pollution?
The health costs attributable to air pollution caused by road transport have been estimated at €67 billion to €80 billion annually by the EU in a study for the European Public Health Alliance. An estimated 75% of these costs are linked to diesel cars, and are primarily borne by taxpayers and customers paying insurance premiums. These costs can be significantly reduced by up to 70% by 2030 if appropriate measures are taken, such as low emission zones, the study finds.

What are the pollutants of main concern to air quality in Europe?
The pollutants of main concern for health in the EU are particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and ground-level ozone (O3). Particulate matter has the most severe health effects, in particular the ultrafine matter which can penetrate deeper into our lungs and body. There is no safe concentration level, according to the World Health Organisation.

Nitrogen dioxide’s (NO2) has major negative effects such as inflammation of the airways, bronchitis in asthmatic children, and reduced lung function. Nitrogen oxides (NOx) cause acidification and eutrophication and is a precursor of O3 and PM.

Excessive O3 in the air can cause breathing problems, asthma and lung diseases. It can lead to reduced crop yields, loss of biodiversity and degradation of physical cultural heritage. Furthermore, it causes global warming.

Why is it so important to tackle air quality threats from road and diesel machine sources?
Our roads are crowded with motor vehicles. Vehicle exhaust gases contain a number of dangerous pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particles, and unfortunately we are exposed to them every day. Exposure is particularly important if we live in a city or near a busy road or highway. Road transport is responsible for 39% of NOx emissions from all land sources.

Diesel machinery also represents an important health problem, in particular for workers using it.

What is Europe doing about air pollution?
Air pollution legislation includes the Ambient Air Quality directive (AAQD), the National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD) and sector-specific legislation.

The AAQD sets quality objectives for ambient air by establishing limit values for air pollutant concentrations. These limits apply to pollutants responsible for acidification, eutrophication and O3 formation. Member states have an obligation to comply with the limits but can choose how to achieve this.

The NECD establishes national ceilings for total emissions of four different pollutants. The NECD is based on the Gothenburg protocol, an international agreement with the very same objectives.

Sector-specific legislation includes emissions rules for passenger cars and light vans (light duty vehicles), trucks and buses (heavy duty vehicles), diesel machinery (also known as non-road machinery) and seagoing ships.

What should Europe do?
Europe must be ambitious and make sure that cars, vans, trucks, trains, planes, ships and construction machines are as clean as possible, not only during type approval, but also in real life. The newly developed Real-world Driving Emissions (RDE) test for light-duty vehicles should be strengthened and used for all compliance in the future.

T&E also wants the EU to strengthen its Euro standards for air pollutants (future Euro 7 standards for cars, VII standards for trucks) with the WHO guidelines in a technology-neutral manner which doesn’t discriminate between fuels. It should also tighten further and ensure compliance with its legislation on diesel machinery and seagoing ships.”

Why is air quality so important?

Air Pollution

https://www.who.int/health-topics/air-pollution#tab=tab_1

World Health Organisation

“Air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year. WHO data shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. WHO is working with countries to monitor air pollution and improve air quality.

From smog hanging over cities to smoke inside the home, air pollution poses a major threat to health and climate. The combined effects of ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution cause about seven million premature deaths every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.

More than 80% of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO guideline limits, with low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures, both indoors and outdoors.

Ambient Air Pollution
From smog hanging over cities to smoke inside the home, air pollution poses a major threat to health and climate. Ambient air pollution accounts for an estimated 4.2 million deaths per year due to stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and chronic respiratory diseases.

Around 91% of the world’s population live in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits. While ambient air pollution affects developed and developing countries alike, low- and middle-income countries experience the highest burden, with the greatest toll in the WHO Western Pacific and South-East Asia regions.

The major outdoor pollution sources include vehicles, power generation, building heating systems, agriculture/waste incineration and industry. Policies and investments supporting cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing, power generation, industry and better municipal waste management can effectively reduce key sources of ambient air pollution.

Air quality is closely linked to earth’s climate and ecosystems globally. Many of the drivers of air pollution (i.e. combustion of fossil fuels) are also sources of high CO2 emissions. Policies to reduce air pollution, therefore, offer a “win–win” strategy for both climate and health, lowering the burden of disease attributable to air pollution, as well as contributing to the near- and long-term mitigation of climate change.

Household Air Pollution
Household air pollution is one of the leading causes of disease and premature death in the developing world.

Exposure to smoke from cooking fires causes 3.8 million premature deaths each year, mostly in low- and middle-income countries. Burning fuels such as dung, wood and coal in inefficient stoves or open hearths produces a variety of health-damaging pollutants, including particulate matter (PM), methane, carbon monoxide, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Burning kerosene in simple wick lamps also produces significant emissions of fine particles and other pollutants.

Particulate matter is a pollutant of special concern. Many studies have demonstrated a direct relationship between exposure to PM and negative health impacts. Smaller-diameter particles (PM2.5 or smaller) are generally more dangerous and ultrafine particles (one micron in diameter or less) can penetrate tissues and organs, posing an even greater risk of systemic health impacts.

Exposure to indoor air pollutants can lead to a wide range of adverse health outcomes in both children and adults, from respiratory illnesses to cancer to eye problems. Members of households that rely on polluting fuels and devices also suffer a higher risk of burns, poisonings, musculoskeletal injuries and accidents.”

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