Category Archives: News

Soil metals linked with cancer mortality

A couple of interesting articles below regarding the link between soil metals and cancer.

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A study links soil metals with cancer mortality – Medical Xpress
April 23, 2018, Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT)

“Spanish epidemiologists and geologists have found associations between esophageal cancer and soils where lead is abundant. Lung cancer has been associated with high copper content in soil; brain tumors are linked with areas rich in arsenic, and bladder cancer is associated with high cadmium levels. These statistical links do not indicate that there is a cause-effect relationship between soil type and cancer, but they suggest that the influence of metals on the geographical distribution of tumors should be analyzed.

The risk of dying from cancer is not the same in all geographic regions. There are many factors that influence the development of cancer, including the type of soil, since it can harbor heavy metals and semimetals that are carcinogenic for humans. Chronic exposure to these toxic elements, which enter the body via the food chain, could increase the frequency of certain tumors in some territories.

In this context, researchers from the National Epidemiology Center of the Carlos III Health Institute (ISCIII) and the Geological and Mining Institute of Spain (IGME) have jointly assessed the possible statistical association between the concentrations of heavy metals in the soil and mortality by different cancer types. The results have been published in the open access journals Environmental Geochemistry and Health and Environmental Science and Pollution Research International.

The data was extracted from Spain’s Geochemical Atlas, published by the IGME in 2012, as well as from a database with 861,440 deaths from 27 cancer types that occurred in almost 8,000 Spanish municipalities between 1999 and 2008. The data can be extrapolated to the present because the geochemical composition of the soil is stable and the mortality patterns for disease usually do not vary.

The authors have crossed the information of the type of soil and the geographic distribution of the tumors, applying statistical analyses and taking into account the presence of local polluting foci or socio-demographic variables that could interfere in the results. They have found increased mortality in both genders from esophageal cancer in areas with higher concentrations of lead, and lung cancer in areas with high copper levels, among other correlations.

“We have also detected that the highest levels of cadmium, lead, zinc, manganese and copper concentrations in the soil are statistically associated with a higher mortality due to cancers of the digestive system in men,” explains Pablo Fernández, ISCIII researcher and co-author of the paper, “and in the case of women, a higher mortality from brain cancer in those areas with more cadmium content.”

The results also show a relationship between soils with more cadmium and higher mortality from bladder cancer; as well as areas with high concentrations of arsenic and more cases of death from brain tumors. “This research suggests that the geochemical composition of the soil, especially its metals, could be influencing the spatial distribution and mortality patterns of cancer in Spain, regardless of the socio-demographic context,” says Fernández. “The great contribution of this work to environmental epidemiology and public health in general. However, although it is plausible that the contents of toxic elements in the soil, even if they are very small, may be a component in the cancer etiology, the results must be interpreted with great caution, since the relationships found do not allow us to conclude that there is a cause-effect relationship. Our study does not have individual exposure data or information about other very important factors in the origin of cancer, such as tobacco, alcohol consumption or obesity.”

Co-author Gonzalo López-Abente says, “The conclusions move in the field of hypotheses and statistical associations, which will have to be confirmed with future analyses to check whether the composition of the soil itself has its counterpart in the biological markers of humans. In any case, the results are plausible and we could be facing one more component of the cancer etiology.”

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Only the introduction of the article has been posted, please follow the link for the full article

Investigating local relationships between trace elements in soils and cancer data – Science Direct
Authors – Jennifer M.McKinley, Ulrich Ofterdinger, Michael Young, Amy Barsby, Anna Gavind

“1. Introduction
1.1. How environmental factors affect health
Natural trace elements, mineral water and gases (such as radon) are present in the environment and these interact with the human body in both positive and negative ways. As recognised by Paracelsus (1493–1541 AC) “all substances are poisons; there is none which is not a poison; the right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy”. Medical geology or spatial epidemiology is concerned with the study of spatial patterns of disease incidence and mortality and the identification of potential causes of disease including environmental exposure or socio-demographic factors (Goovaerts, 2010). To date, the culmination of a broad body of research has recognised a number of potentially toxic elements (PTEs), such as arsenic (As), cobalt (Co), chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb), selenium (Se), vanadium (V), uranium (U) and zinc (Zn), known to influence human disease by their respective deficiency or toxicity. As the impact of infectious diseases has decreased and the population as a whole ages, so cancer has become the most common cause of death in developed countries. The risk of developing cancer is recognised as a combination of the person’s genetic makeup and environmental factors usually over long periods of time. Steingraber (2010) describes a study of cancer among adoptees that found correlations with their adoptive families but not within their biological ones. The concept that our genes work in communion with substances from the larger ecological world suggests that what runs in families does not necessarily run in the blood (Steingraber, 2010). Carcinogens fall into three groups—chemical, physical and biological. Chemical carcinogens, the largest group, include tobacco products, asbestos, benzene and the products of tobacco. Biological agents include infections such as Human Papilloma Virus, (HPV) causally linked with cervical cancer, and Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) linked with lymphomas. The best known example of physical carcinogens is high-energy radiation, including nuclear radiation and X-rays. Radiation is known as a ‘complete’ carcinogen because it can initiate, promote and progress a cancer. Chemical carcinogens occur in nature, in mineral ores, such arsenic and others in foods (e.g. fungal contaminants). The history of cancer is long but our recognition of the agents that contribute to its occurrence has been slow to mature. A reflection that external or environmental agents could produce malignant change was noted by Pott, a London physician, in 1775, after observational studies prompted him to link scrotal cancer, common among chimney sweeps, to the soot that accumulated on their bodies (cited in Majno and Joris, 2004). Skin cancer was noted to be prevalent among workers exposed to arsenic fumes in copper smelters and tin foundries in Cornwall and Wales. Workers in cobalt mines in Saxony and the uranium mines in Bohemia were subject to a disease of the lungs later identified as cancer. Many of the causes of cancer including the effects of lifestyle and environmental factors are still not well understood. Investigating the geographical differences in cancer incidence may shed light on variations in cancer risk factors between populations (Carsin et al., 2009).”

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Enjoy your day further!  Chris

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

Dust Monitoring Training Course July 2018

Please note that the training course for Pretoria is scheduled for 17, 18, 19 July 2018.

Kloof Bed and Breakfast
570 Rutgers Street, Moreleta Park, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Cellphone: +27 (0)82 923 3730 | Facsimile: +27 (0)86 672 6310
E-mail: kloofbb@telkomsa.net | www.Kloofbb.co.za

Contact Person for accommodation bookings: (Optional – Any accommodation can be used but this is the venue for the training and is recommended)
Erica Lottering
Mobile no: 082 923 3730
Email: kloofbb@telkomsa.net
Website: www.kloofbb.co.za

Please book accommodation if required independently at this venue or an alternative venue. The training will take place at this venue.

Please diarise those dates if you can make it, and RSVP by 1 July 2018 if possible.

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

The costs for the training – R3028 per person per day, and the course runs for three days. You can also select which days to attend if you do not want to attend all three days.

Below is a brief outline of the course, although the course will be customised to meet the specific needs of those attending.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries.

Sincerely
Chris Loans

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

______________Course Information________________________________________________
The course has three main topics that will be covered over the three days.
1. Fallout dust monitoring theory (Day 1)
2. Fallout dust monitoring practical (Day 2)
3. Fallout Dust Monitoring Reporting (Day 3)
The fallout dust monitoring section of the course aims to train the trainees so that they are able to do the following.
1. Understand what fallout dust monitoring achieves and what is collected. This will include discussion around the legislative requirements and will also address the possible influences of dust sensitive areas like communities, hospitals, farms, and recreational areas.
2. Prepare buckets, transport buckets and change buckets in the Fallout Dust Monitoring units.
3. Filter the bucket contents using a filter bench and using the related equipment used in the filtering process. This includes advice on how to minimise the filtering time and what can be done when samples are taking very long to filter.
4. Understand how to calculate the fallout dust monitoring results in mg/m2/day and how to interpret these results.
5. Report writing and presentation options for the results will also be discussed.
6. Some computer training may also be included in the course if required.
7. Access to our software for processing of the fallout dust data will also be included after the course. This can be used to simplify the data collection and report writing and will also provide a database of the fallout dust levels over the years.
The course will be presented by Christopher Loans who is a Professional Chemical Engineer with a Masters in Occupational Hygiene focused on the Mining Industry.

Africa has an air pollution problem

Air pollution

Something interesting to read about ………..  Enjoy your day!

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Africa has an air pollution problem but lacks the data to tackle it – University of Pretoria

By – Prof Janine Wichmann

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently launched BreatheLife, a campaign to make people more aware about the fact that air pollution – which it calls the invisible killer – is a major health and climate risk.

‘Invisible’ may refer to the lack of awareness that air pollution is a major health risk. In fact, air pollution levels exceeding the WHO air quality guidelines are often very visible, particularly in developing countries. This is especially true for billions of people living in close contact with air pollution sources. Those who, for example, cook on inefficient stoves with fuels such as coal. Or live in an industrial area.

The WHO has air quality programmes for most of the world’s regions. These review the effects of air pollution on health and help countries develop sustainable air quality policies. But none exists for sub-Saharan Africa. It is not clear why. A possible explanation may be that environmental health risk factors are overshadowed by other risks like malnutrition, HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.

Despite this, we do know something about the continent’s air pollution levels. In the first major attempt to estimate the health and economic costs of air pollution in Africa, an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report found that air pollution in Africa already causes more premature deaths than unsafe water or childhood malnutrition. It warned that this could develop into a health and climate crisis.

But how bad are air pollution levels in Africa? Which countries have the worst air pollution levels? What are the main sources and drivers of air pollution? Are the main sources and drivers of air pollution different from those on other continents?

The answers to these questions are severely hampered by a lack of data as well as poor regulation and laws in African countries. The only country on the continent that has ambient air quality standards enforced by air quality laws and regulations is South Africa. Other countries have either ambient air quality standards or air quality laws and regulations, or none at all.

What’s known

Air pollution is a complex mixture of many components.

The WHO’s air quality guidelines, as well as country-specific laws, have identified a few air pollutant components: particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometer (PM2.5) and 10 micrometer (PM10) in aerodynamic diameter, sulphur dioxide (SO2), ground-level ozone (O3), carbon monoxide (CO), benzene, lead and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

The most dangerous are PM2.5 and ultrafine particles (UFP); the latter are smaller than 100 nanometer in aerodynamic diameter. PM2.5 and UFP penetrate deeper into the lung alveoli and may pass into the bloodstream. PM10 and PM2.5 are important indicators of long-term air quality and of health risks.

Based on data of ground measurements conducted in 2008-2015, Africa’s PM10 levels are not the highest in the world.

The database is the largest of its kind and covers over 3 000 human settlements – mostly cities – in 103 countries. The number one spot belongs to the Eastern Mediterranean region, followed by the South-East Asia region and then Africa. But the WHO acknowledges numerous limitations to the data sources. Fewer sites globally measure PM2.5, hence the focus is on PM10.

The PM2.5 data based on the WHO air quality model show that the number one spot again belongs to the Eastern Mediterranean region, followed by the South-East Asia region and then Africa. Given the lack of PM2.5 ground measurements in Africa, the PM2.5 data derived from the WHO air quality model for Africa should be viewed with caution.

Where is the air worse in Africa?

It is hard to say what the real picture is. The modelled PM2.5 data supplements the data from ground monitoring networks, especially in regions with no or very little monitoring, as is the case in Africa.

The PM10 data, based on ground measurements conducted between 2008 and 2015, show that all African countries with PM10 data exceeded the WHO annual guideline of 20 microgram/cubic meter (µg/m³).

Onitsha in Nigeria had the highest yearly PM10 level of 594 µg/m³ globally, nearly 30 times higher than the WHO annual guideline. But the quality of the data is questionable. The level for Onitsha is based on PM10 data collected only in 2009 and only at one site. The database also does not mention on how many days the 2009 yearly level is based as missing data can lead to a distorted yearly level. The lowest yearly PM10 level was recorded at Midlands in Mauritius (20 µg/m³). But this is based only on 2011 data collected again at only one site without mention of how many days in 2011 were measured.

It is also difficult to know exactly what the contribution of different sources of air pollution are in Africa.

The amount of air pollution in any given location is affected by a combination of local, regional and distant sources. It is also affected by the dispersion of pollutants, which in turn depends on numerous weather conditions such as wind direction, temperature and precipitation.

A recent review indicated that very few studies in Africa conducted source apportionment of PM2.5 and PM10. The review concluded that (based on the few studies) 17%, 10%, 34%, 17% and 22% of PM2.5 levels in Africa are due to traffic, industry, domestic fuel burning, unspecified source of human origin and natural sources – such as dust and sea salt. For PM10 the corresponding source distribution is 34%, 6%, 21%, 14% and 25%, but should be viewed with caution due to the few studies.

Based on the limited number of PM10 and PM2.5 source apportionment studies in Africa, these tentative conclusions can be drawn. Traffic is a major source of PM10 levels in Africa as in many other global regions. The other two major sources of PM10 in Africa are domestic fuel burning and natural sources. In other regions of the world, industry and the ambiguous ‘unspecified source of human origin’ contribute more.

Domestic fuel burning is the major source of PM2.5 in Africa, followed by traffic and natural sources such as dust. In other regions of the world, traffic, industry and the ambiguous ‘unspecified source of human origin’ contribute more to PM2.5 levels.

Air quality interventions

Regardless of the exact global source contributions, the main sources of air pollution should be tackled globally in management plans and interventions.

Obvious interventions include clean energy technology such as solar power, to minimise domestic fuel burning and emissions from coal-fired power plants. Other initiatives include clean public transport, bicycle lanes to cut traffic emissions, recycling and controls on industrial emissions.

Air pollution does not stop at country or continental borders. It is a major risk factor for climate change. A disregard for air pollution levels in Africa may have a major impact on global climate change in the years to come.”

“Prof Janine Wichmann is an Associate Professor at the School of Health Systems and Public Health at the University of Pretoria.

This article originally appeared on The Conversation.”

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Measuring Africa’s Air Pollution – The New York Times
By Kate Galbraith 2014

“When Jenny Linden, an air quality scientist, tried to measure the pollution in Burkina Faso’s capital city, one of her instruments clogged up. It was designed for road dust in Arizona, but the dust in Ouagadougou far exceeded the machine’s limit, and it had to be sent to the United States for repair.

The instrument “could not take the level of pollutants they had there,” recalled Dr. Linden, who took measurements in Ouagadougou between 2003 and 2007 and is now a research associate in urban climatology at the University of Mainz, in Germany. So intense was the dust, she added, that “you don’t have a cold but you have an irritated nose the whole time.”

Air pollution in Asia and Europe has grabbed headlines. But as Dr. Linden’s experience suggests, the problem is pervasive across Africa as well. Africa is urbanizing quickly, and pollution from sources like vehicle exhaust, wood burning and dusty dirt roads has reached worrisome levels in many cities. Equally or more troubling is air pollution inside homes, caused by cooking with wood or other sooty fuels. But few nations outside South Africa have imposed regulations to address the problem, experts say.

“We do know that in Africa, there’s a very major problem with indoor air pollution,” said Dr. Carlos Dora, an official with the World Health Organization’s Department for Public Health and Environment. Data for outdoor air pollution in cities, he added, is less available and may not capture the scope of the problem.

Dirty air can cause lung damage as well as heart disease, strokes and cancer. Last month the W.H.O. estimated that one in eight deaths worldwide resulted from air pollution. The organization found that air pollution in African homes contributed to nearly 600,000 deaths in 2012. Africa had the third highest level of deaths per capita from indoor air pollution of any region of the world, though it was still well behind areas of the western Pacific region (including China) and Southeast Asia.

The W.H.O. figures for deaths per capita from outdoor air pollution in Africa are well below the world average, but the lack of data is a barrier. Pollution monitoring is minimal on a continent that is mostly focused on other problems. Instruments are expensive, and academics say they often struggle to get grants to study the problem. The W.H.O. assesses outdoor pollution in Africa by drawing from satellite data, inventories of pollution sources, air-current modeling and occasional ground monitors, Dr. Dora said. Continentwide data is stronger than that for individual countries, he added.

In Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, normal levels of fine dust (meaning particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, about 1/30 of the width of a human hair and a significant health threat) are usually five times as high as those in Gothenburg, Sweden, according to Johan Boman, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Gothenburg. The Nairobi pollution doubles near the central business district, he said, reflecting high pollution from vehicle exhaust.

“It’s certainly not as bad as what we see from China,” he said. “On the other hand, in China it’s very much seasonal,” whereas Nairobi, with its relatively stable climate, has less variation.

A survey several years ago by the W.H.O. showed Gaborone, Botswana, as having the eighth-highest level of particulate pollution (particles of up to 10 micrometers in diameter) among a list of world cities. But the W.H.O. stresses that it is an incomplete list, since many cities did not provide data — including some of the most polluted.

The outdoor pollution problem is growing, as more Africans move to cities. Ms. Linden, who did research in Burkina Faso until 2007, said that “the situation is likely worse now” because Ouagadougou’s population has swelled by more than 50 percent since then. Major outdoor sources of pollution include old vehicles; the burning of wood and trash; industrial activities; and even dust from dirt roads, a serious issue in Ouagadougou. In West Africa, a wind called the harmattan adds to the problem in the winter, coating the region in Saharan desert dust.

One recent study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, estimated that Africa could generate 20 percent to 30 percent of the world’s combustion-driven sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by 2030, up from about 5 percent each in 2005. Other pollutants are growing too: Organic carbon from Africa could rise to over 50 percent of the world’s combustion output, from 20 percent, the study said. The authors did their calculations using estimates about fuel consumption, growth and other emissions factors, and warned of “a considerable increase in emissions from Africa” in the absence of regulations.

One of few countries to put regulations in place is South Africa, where ozone and tiny particles are particular worries. Air quality standards went into effect in 2009. Restrictions on particles will tighten in 2015 and 2016, according to Rebecca Garland, a senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria.

Elsewhere, action is lacking as African nations grapple with other problems. Dr. Dora of the W.H.O. said that in countries like China, the pressure to stem pollution comes from businesses, and “from what I know, there’s still not that pressure from businesses in Africa,” he said. However, some leaders are aware of the issue and want to address it, he added.

One initiative that has gotten considerable attention is cleaner cookstoves. The current fuels, including wood, charcoal, animal dung and crop residues, create smoke and soot. The W.H.O. is releasing information soon about how various technologies can improve indoor air pollution. The concept of cleaner cookstoves has been getting high-profile attention; however, some experts caution that some of the new cookstoves may be focused less on reducing air emissions than on other benefits like increased energy efficiency and preventing forest degradation.

“I don’t think anybody’s really demonstrated that they’re clean enough” to play a serious role in improving public health, said Darby Jack, an assistant professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.”

South African Mining Charter

Some news on the progress of the new South African Mining Charter.  Hope you enjoy the articles and have a great day!  Please follow the links to the source of the articles.

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South Africa aims to finalise mining charter in June, minister says – Mining.com
Reuters | May. 15, 2018, 11:18 AM |

“South Africa aims to finalise a third version of a hotly contested mining charter in June, mines minister Gwede Mantashe said on Tuesday, later than the government had predicted last month.

The government and miners have been locked in difficult negotiations over the charter, which lays out requirements for black ownership levels and other targets, after the industry opposed revisions proposed by Mantashe’s predecessor.

Agreeing a new version of the charter is seen as instrumental to securing further investment in the mining sector, which new President Cyril Ramaphosa has made a priority.

“We aim to finalise and gazette the mining charter in June, having taken on board inputs and concerns from stakeholders across the country,” Mantashe said in a speech to parliament, a copy of which was distributed by the communications ministry.

Mantashe said in April that he aimed to finalise the charter by May.

South Africa’s mining industry has been grappling for years with depressed prices, outbursts of labour and social unrest and policy uncertainty.

The charter’s controversial areas included raising the target for black ownership to 30 percent from 26 percent.

The industry had challenged the revisions in court but put that judicial process on hold after Ramaphosa appointed Mantashe in February. When the charter is finalised, the industry will be legally required to follow its targets and regulations.”

(Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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Ramaphosa vows Mining Charter finalised ‘soon’ – Fin24
May 04 2018 07:56 Loni Prinsloo, Bloomberg

“New rules governing black ownership of South Africa’s mining industry will be completed “very soon”, President Cyril Ramaphosa said at a Japan-Africa trade forum in Johannesburg.

“The mining charter will be finalised very soon and we have set a deadline,” Ramaphosa said, without giving details of the timing.

Africa’s most-industrialised country will try to remove “blockages” to investment in a bid to attract as much as $100bn over the next five years, he said.”

Fugitive dust management

A few interesting articles from Mining Weekly (please follow the links to the original articles) regarding dust and waste management.  Enjoy the read!

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Comprehensive package facilitates fugitive dust management – Mining Weekly
BY: TASNEEM BULBULIA 18th May 2018

“Fugitive dust emissions pose risks to mining companies, surrounding communities and the receiving environment, and require proper management to mitigate their effects, and environmental management company I-CAT is well poised to do so through its comprehensive solution offering.

I-CAT Environmental Management and Consulting divisional manager Leon Janse van Rensburg says fugitive dust emissions are inherently part of the mining industry, owing to the nature of mining activities, such as blasting, minerals processing activities and fugitive dust emissions emanating from haulage roads. Emissions are especially prevalent in opencast mining and associated activities, the processing of raw mine materials using crushing and screening plants, and on waste rock dumps or mine tailings through windblown activities.

While not the biggest contributor, dust emissions contribute to the overall ambient PM10 (the fraction of particulates with a diameter of 10 μm or smaller) concentration in the atmosphere. Therefore, it is still a problem that should be properly managed, Janse van Rensburg emphasises.

In terms of the environmental impact of dust emissions, dust particles can become entrained in the atmosphere, resulting in the quality of ambient air decreasing and, in some cases, cause visual impairment near the source of emission. Further, surface waterbodies can become contaminated by dust particles settling on the surface, while the biodiversity of fauna and flora in areas surrounding mining activities can also be negatively affected by dust fallout.

Janse van Rensburg highlights that surrounding communities can be affected in two ways: socioeconomically, dust contributes to the devaluation of property in a mine’s surrounding area; in terms of health, inhaling dust particles over time can lead to a range of negative health effects.

For mining companies, the impact manifests financially, such as increased maintenance for mining equipment; and operationally, such as an increase in downtime often because of visual impairment when the dust emissions become too excessive.

From a health and safety perspective, mineworkers can inhale dust emissions, resulting in a range of occupational illnesses and diseases, which could further result in increased liability to mining companies.

Comprehensive Solution

Janse van Rensburg indicates that I-CAT’s dust management package constitutes the actual planning and implementation of dust management measures and technologies for mines.

In terms of operational control measures, this can include something as simple as implementing speed limits on the roads, and avoiding the excessive clearing of natural vegetation on mining sites. This mitigates the prevalence of areas that are void of vegetation, as these areas contribute to excessive dust emissions as particles are mechanically entrained in the atmosphere through windblown activities.

I-CAT aims to deliver a customised solution geared specifically for the challenges of clients. The type of solution is usually dictated by the source of the dust, which can either originate from a point or non-point source. Point source dust emissions are created from a static point, such as dust emissions created from a processing crusher, while a non-point source is variable, such as dust emission originating from haulage roads.

Technologies for point source systems include misting systems, which can contribute towards restricting particles from becoming airborne by addressing the problem at the source. Essentially, a misting system encourages the binding of water molecules with dust particles, resulting in the formed particle being heavier and drawn down to the surface under gravity.

In terms of technologies for non-point systems, water can be used in conjunction with road dust palliatives for primary and secondary roads. Dust palliatives aim to bind soil particles together over a longer period while using less water, as the application frequency of using dust palliatives in an aqueous solution is far less than the application of a water-only solution, Janse van Rensburg indicates.

He emphasises that using water only is not a feasible solution for dust management and suppression, owing to the scarcity of this resource in the country. Water also tends to evaporate quickly, which, in turn, allows for small particles to become entrained in the atmosphere in a short time period.

Other measures entail enclosing conveyor areas of mining plants’ offloading points and associated extraction, and collecting the dust particles into dust-filtering and storage infrastructure.

I-CAT has been designing and supplying these solutions and technologies since 2009, with numerous clients indicating that implementing the company’s technologies has had a positive effect on mitigating the negative effects of dust emission at mines, says Janse van Rensburg.””

For more please follow the link above………

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Sustainable solutions possible for AMD treatment – Mining Weekly 
BY: ERIN STEENHOFF-SNETHLAGE

“Multidisciplinary engineering consultancy WSP Africa states that, while acid mine drainage (AMD) decants in the Witwatersrand goldfields and surrounds should be dealt with urgently, there is no company large enough to start a large-scale water rehabilitation programme.

“The Witwatersrand goldfields is the area most threatened by AMD. After 120 years of mining in the area, the Western basin started to decant AMD in 2002. There are no large companies currently mining in this area, so no one [can] initiate a project of the scale needed to prevent the decant,” says WSP Environment and Energy Africa senior associate Karen King.

The onus to develop, own and operate AMD treatment facilities falls on the mines, with “mine closure plans supposed to adequately account for AMD prevention solutions, new mines should not be allowed to open without such plans”, she points out.

However, the responsibility also lies with government to oversee and govern mine closure plans, King adds. “[Some] of the country’s environmental policies, centred on mining and polluted water, are far better today than what they were in the past, but they need to be more strictly enforced,” King puts forward.

To date, AMD has caused considerable damage to the Wonderfonteinspruit, Tweelopiespruit, the Tudor dam and Robinson lake areas, King emphasises. The flooding of the Central basin in the Witwatersrand area has also been linked to seismic activity.

There is no short-term solution to the AMD issue, as the “effects of AMD can never be entirely reversed”, King states. Considering the existing pollution, the AMD needs to be pumped out of the mining areas and treated. This exercise is often started but not continued, as it is an expense which could bankrupt some mines, she reiterates. Older AMD-generating mines have been closed for many years, with companies unable to afford treatment and rehabilitation programmes.

Sustainable Solutions

King believes that there are sustainable solutions that can be used to treat AMD and help restore the natural environment.

Treatment will depend on the extent, volume and the make-up of the AMD, as well as the geographical area that it affects. Solutions include the diversion of clean surface water from sources of pollution, and the prevention of seepage and groundwater infiltration into affected sites. The placement of acid- generating water also needs to be controlled.

Flooding of potential AMD-generating areas before oxidation can occur is another option, as is the development of the Western Utilities Corporation mine water reclamation project. The project entails a plan to pump the water to a central treatment plant where it can be treated and sold to water utility Rand Water at a profit, but is being received with mixed enthusiasm, claims King. “There needs to be greater market understanding and recognition that polluted water can be a resource – and not a liability – if it is appropriately treated.”

Further, King points out that some considerations need to be taken into account when building an AMD treatment facility. The most important consideration is the standard – for potable, industrial or agricultural use – to which the water will be treated, as this will impact on the design and construction costs of the facility.

The potential AMD decant volumes, AMD chemistry and pretreatment methods also need to be considered. Thereafter, the best methodology must be selected to treat the specific type/s of AMD, King illustrates. Financing, maintenance and personnel training are also important factors to consider.

These factors can also be challenges because the lack of properly managing them could lead to the failure of the AMD treatment plan, she adds. For example, poor maintenance could lead to mechanical failures in machinery, as the aeration equipment can become clogged when the calcium sulfate levels are too high.

Further, an estimated 1.6-million people live in informal settlements next to mine waste residue deposits in South Africa, the majority of which are radioactive, King says, pointing out that long-term exposure to AMD-polluted drinking water and mine-residue deposits can lead to cancer, decreased cognitive function and mental retardation in fetuses.

“AMD needs to be addressed adequately and urgently,” King concludes.”

Particulate air pollutants associated with numerous cancers

Here is another post related to our one from last week on how air pollution is damaging our health.  This article discusses how exposure to particulate air pollutants are being associated with numerous cancers.

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Particulate air pollutants associated with numerous cancers – University of Birmingham 

“Researchers have found that long-term exposure to environmental pollutants was associated with increased risk of mortality for many types of cancer in an elderly Hong Kong population.

The study between the University of Birmingham and University of Hong Kong, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, adds to growing concern around the health risks of prolonged exposure to ambient fine particulate matter.

Particulate matter is the term for particles found in the air, including hydrocarbons and heavy metals produced by transportation and power generation, among other sources. This study focused on ambient fine particulate matter, or matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5).

For every 10 microgram per cubic meter (µg/m³) of increased exposure to PM2.5, the risk of dying from any cancer rose by 22 percent.

Dr Neil Thomas, from the Institute of Applied Health at The University of Birmingham, said, “The implications for other similar cities around the world are that PM2.5 must be reduced to reduce the health burden. Air pollution remains a clear, modifiable public health concern.”

Dr Thuan Quoc Thach, from the University of Hong Kong, said, “Long-term exposure to particulate matter has been associated with mortality mainly from cardiopulmonary causes and lung cancer, but there have been few studies showing an association with mortality from other cancers. We suspected that these particulates could have an equivalent effect on cancers elsewhere in the body.”

The researchers recruited 66,280 people aged 65 or older between 1998 and 2001, and followed the subjects until 2011, ascertaining causes of death from Hong Kong registrations. Annual concentrations of PM2.5 at their homes were estimated using data from satellite data and fixed-site monitors.

After adjusting for smoking status, and excluding deaths that had occurred within three years of the baseline to control for competing diseases, the study showed that for every 10 µg/m³ of increased exposure to PM2.5, the risk of dying from any cancer rose by 22 percent. Increases of 10 µg/m³ of PM2.5 were associated with a 42 percent increased risk of mortality from cancer in the upper digestive tract and a 35 percent increased risk of mortality from accessory digestive organs, which include the liver, bile ducts, gall bladder, and pancreas.

For women, every 10 µg/m³ increase in exposure to PM2.5 was associated with an 80 percent increased risk of mortality from breast cancer, and men experienced a 36 percent increased risk of dying of lung cancer for every 10 µg/m³ increased exposure to PM2.5.

The team believe that possible explanations for the association between PM2.5 and cancer could include defects in DNA repair function, alterations in the body’s immune response, or inflammation that triggers angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels that allows tumours to spread. In the case of the digestive organs, heavy metal pollution could affect gut microbiota and influence the development of cancer.

The large scale of the study, as well as its documentation of cancer-specific mortality, enables a detailed investigation of the contribution of particulate matter to these cancers and counters the common problems associated with research into mortality via specific types of cancer in a population.

Dr Thomas added, “The next step is to determine whether other countries experience similar associations between PM2.5 and cancer deaths. This study, combined with existing research, suggests that other urban populations may carry the same risks but we’d be keen to look into this further.”

Dr Thach concluded, “The limitation to this study is the sole focus on PM2.5. Emerging research is beginning to study the effects of exposure to multiple pollutants on human health. We must be cautious though, as pollution is just one risk factor for cancer, and others, such as diet and exercise, may be more significant and more modifiable risk factors.””

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How air pollution can cause cancer – Cancer Research UK

“Air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer. For each individual person, the increase in risk of cancer is small. But because everyone is exposed to some air pollution, when we think about big numbers of people, like the population of a country, air pollution has a much bigger effect.

And air pollution isn’t only linked to lung cancer, there is also good evidence that it can increase the risk of other diseases, mainly respiratory diseases and heart disease.

However, it’s important to keep the risk in perspective. Smoking has a much bigger effect on the risk of developing lung cancer than air pollution.

What is air pollution?

Air pollution is the harmful things that are found in the air we breathe.

It is a mixture of many different substances and the exact contents vary depending on its source, your location, the time of year and even the weather. Air pollution can be man-made, such as fumes from cars and smoke from burning fuels like wood or coal. But it also includes natural substances, like desert dust that travels to the UK all the way from the Sahara desert.

Air pollution is often separated into outdoor and indoor air pollution. Both indoor and outdoor air pollutants have been shown to increase the risk of cancer. Air pollution is associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. Although the increased risk of cancer is small for individuals, because everyone is exposed to some air pollution, it has an important effect across the population as a whole.

Outdoor Air Pollution

In 2013, outdoor air pollution was identified as a cause of cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). It’s responsible for far fewer cases of cancer than other risk factors, such as smoking and obesity, but air pollution affects everyone.

The research shows that tiny dust-like particles – called ‘particulate matter’, or PM – are an important part of air pollution. The smallest particles – less than 2.5 millionths of a metre across, known as PM2.5 – appear to be behind lung cancers caused by pollution.

The risk of developing lung cancer increases as the level of PM2.5 in the air increases.”

To read further please follow the above link to the article.

Air Pollution Is Destroying Your Health

We all know air pollution is causing us health problems.  Here are a few consequences you might not have been aware of…………..

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“5 Ways Air Pollution Is Destroying Your Health – Dr Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM – Global Healing Center

You probably already know about some of the dangers that severe air pollution exposure can cause and how places like stoplights at intersections can increase your exposure to harmful air particles up to 29 times more than the open road. While these facts are startling, you probably don’t know about the almost invisible dangers.  Namely the numerous diseases and cognitive issues now being linked to air pollution. Here we’ll get into five ways you’re letting air pollution destroy your health.

The Hidden Dangers of Air Pollution
Despite the slow turn to more sustainable forms of agriculture and industry, air pollution is still a big problem. Here are just some of the ways air pollution negatively affects your health.

1. Air Pollution is Linked to Suicide
It may seem crazy to think that air pollution could lead to something as serious as suicide, but studies in Taiwan, South Korea, China, and now Utah suggest a link. Not only is suicide the 10th leading cause of death in the US, it is the number 8th cause of death in Utah.  Obviously, there are many factors that must be considered when discussing causes of suicide; however, suicide rates increased in Utah during the spring and fall (a time when certain aspects of air pollution can be worse).

2. Air Pollution Slows Cognition in Schoolchildren
We all know that air pollution can exacerbate symptoms of asthma and other respiratory-related illnesses and diseases, but did you also know that it can affect brain development? Dr. Jordi Sunyer did a study to see just how affected schoolchildren are by air pollution (specifically traffic pollution). The study concluded that children who attended schools in polluted areas showed overall slower cognition in comparison to those who attended schools in areas with less traffic pollution. “The associations between slower cognitive development and higher levels of air pollutants remained after the researchers took factors such as parents’ education, commuting time, smoking in the home and green spaces at school into account.”

3. Significant Risks to Frequent Flyers
Those who fly frequently (especially pilots or other airline staff) could potentially be more at risk for certain issues, dubbed “aerotoxic syndrome.” Most planes have a mechanism that compresses air from the engines and uses that as air in the cabin, but sometimes, these mechanisms malfunction and allow oil particles to taint the cabin air. Many airline employees have mentioned this, but one pilot, Richard Westgate, passed away in 2012 after claiming to be a victim of poisonous and toxic cabin fumes.

4. Cremations Release Mercury Into the Air
With land for burials becoming more scarce (and also more expensive), many people turn to cremation as an alternate form of honoring the body of a loved one who has passed on. The unfortunate side effect of cremation is mercury emissions. Honoring a fallen loved one should not come at the price of endangering yourself and others, but there are alternatives such as alkaline hydrolysis or “liquid cremation” that are far healthier for the environment and for you.

5. Air Pollution Linked to Autism
Autism and related disorders have been on the rise for some time and research suggests air pollution may be a contributing factor. Several reports noted a link between exposure to toxic metals and other pollutants in children who were more at risk to develop autism. Other studies focused on pregnant women and how closely they lived to freeways and other sources of heavy pollution. All of the studies found similar exposures to a handful of particular pollutants that seemed to increase the risk of autism in newborns.

Air Pollution: No Simple Solution
It’s difficult to remove all air pollution from your life, unfortunately, but you can monitor and limit your exposure. Keep abreast with local news about your city or even check in on a Breathe Cam. Keep plants inside your home to help remove harmful pollutants. Consider an air purification device, they can be a great active approach for purifying the air in your home.

Air pollution

“Autism Risk Linked to Particulate Air Pollution – Scientific America

Children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of fine particulate pollution in late pregnancy have up to twice the risk of developing autism as children of mothers breathing cleaner air, scientists reported

NEW YORK, Dec 18 (Reuters) – Children whose mothers were exposed to high levels of fine particulate pollution in late pregnancy have up to twice the risk of developing autism as children of mothers breathing cleaner air, scientists at Harvard School of Public Health reported on Thursday.

The greater the exposure to fine particulates emitted by fires, vehicles, and industrial smokestacks the greater the risk, found the study, published online in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Earlier research also found an autism-pollution connection, including a 2010 study that found the risk of autism doubled if a mother, during her third trimester, lived near a freeway, a proxy for exposure to particulates. But this is the first to examine the link across the United States, and “provides additional support” to a possible link, said Heather Volk of the University of Southern California Children’s Hospital, who led earlier studies.

U.S. diagnoses of autism soared to one in 68 children in 2010 (the most recent data) from one in 150 in 2000, government scientists reported in March. Experts are divided on how much of the increase reflects greater awareness and how much truly greater incidence.

Although the disorder has a strong genetic basis, the increasing incidence has spurred scientists to investigate environmental causes, too, since genes do not change quickly enough to explain the rise.

The Harvard study included children of the 116,430 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II, which began in 1989. The researchers collected data on where the women lived while pregnant and levels of particulate pollution. They then compared the prenatal histories of 245 children with autism spectrum disorder to 1,522 normally-developing children, all born from 1990 to 2002.

There was no association between autism and fine particulate pollution before or early in pregnancy, or after the child was born. But high levels of exposure during the third trimester doubled the risk of autism.

Evidence that a mother-to-be’s exposure to air pollution affects her child’s risk of autism “is becoming quite strong,” said Harvard epidemiologist Marc Weisskopf, who led the study, suggesting a way to reduce the risk.

It is not clear how tiny particles might cause autism, but they are covered with myriad contaminants and penetrate cells, which can disrupt brain development.

Last year the Environmental Protection Agency, citing the link to asthma, lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, tightened air quality standards for fine particulate pollution. States have until 2020 to meet the new standards. (Reporting by Sharon Begley; editing by Andrew Hay)”

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Have a great day! Chris

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

Why monitor dust in the workplace?

Dust in the workplace

Today we have posted a couple of articles about dust in the workplace and an interesting dust control method used by the US Military………… enjoy the read!

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“Why monitor dust in the workplace? By: Josh Thomas (Source – Environmental Expert)
Courtesy of Ashtead Technology Ltd

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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“US Military’s First Choice for Dust Control Solutions – Rhino Snot (Envirotac II)  (Source – Environmental Expert)

Home soil or foreign, whenever the US Military is in need of a dust control job, they call EP&A Envirotac Inc. without a second thought. The US Military first came to know about Envirotac’s dust control products during its Afghanistan mission in 2002, where it used Envirotac II polymer for helicopter landing site and airfields in the Camp Rhino. This is also where Envirotac II received its shiny moniker – Rhino Snot.

Again in 2008, the military used it in Iraq, when the powder-fine dust at the site of Combat Outpost Rawah made helicopter landing extremely difficult. And the best part of working with Envirotac polymers is that they are easy to apply, and make the surface ready for the desired purpose within 24-48 hours.

Besides military usage, Envirotac line of dust control products has many applications in numerous industries, such as road construction, mine tailing, oil pads, parking lots, and so on.”

Farming - dust in the workplace

“Dangers of Dust in the Workplace (Source – Workplace Safety Advice)  By Jeff Durham

Excessive dust in the workplace can be highly dangerous on a number of levels. Firstly, although it’s rare, a cloud of concentrated dust is potentially combustible and can, therefore, cause explosions so it’s important that companies keep their working environments as relatively dust-free as they can to avoid such potential catastrophes. However, the most common problem associated with dust in the workplace arises from dust-related illnesses which have been found to be one of the major killers in the UK when it comes to occupational health.

Common Environments For Contracting Dust Related Illnesses
All workplaces need to carry out cleaning duties and pay particular regard to hygiene issues and, for the most part, in places such as an office for example, dust should not present too much of a problem. However, there are many industries which need to be especially vigilant. Here is a list of some of the more common working environments where excess dust can create a real problem.

  • Mines and quarries – dust from coal, flint and silica
    Construction sites – dust from cement and asbestos
    Farming and Agriculture – dust from grain
    Carpentry and Joinery – dust from wood
    Bakeries and mills – dust from flour
    Textiles – dust from materials like leather
    Dust Related Illnesses

Workers can suffer from a variety of illnesses and medical conditions as a result of working in dust-filled environments. Depending on the nature of the work, some of these ailments can become more serious than others. The range of dust related illnesses and conditions encompass eye and nose damage, rashes and other skin conditions, asthma, silicosis, asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer related to asbestos. Pneumoconiosis, which is the name given to diseases such as those caused by the likes of asbestosis and silicosis, is a broad term which describes any condition which affects the lungs causing inflammation or scarring of the lung tissue. One of the major worries is that it can often take several decades for a person to develop any symptoms of pneumoconiosis which can manifest itself in things like excess coughing, breathing difficulties and even weight loss.

Prevention and Reducing the Risks
There are a number of government legislations which incorporate provisions which are aimed at minimising the risk from dust. These include the Factories Act 1961, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1988. There are also other regulations in place specific to certain industries, the Coal Mines (Respirable Dust) Regulations 1975, being a prime example.
From an employer’s perspective, they need to do all they can to eliminate or, at least, disperse the dust. An exhaust ventilation system will remove the dust from a particular site whilst a dilution ventilation system helps to disperse dust evenly throughout a particular area as opposed to allowing it to build up into a concentrated mass within one specific spot. Where dust has a fundamental presence within a particular occupation, workers need to be provided with the correct protective clothing and with breathing respirators if need be. These are much better than dust masks which have often been proved to be relatively ineffective. Employers should also ensure that workers undergo regular health checks which might pinpoint any early signs of illness.”

For the complete article, please follow the above link.

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Have a great day! Chris

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

Kilauea volcano eruption

Kilauea volcano eruption

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

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

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

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

And it had a smell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow the link above for the full article.

Airborne Dust Particles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dust Storm - Airborne dust particles

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Have a good day! Chris Loans

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