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

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

Fallout Dust Monitoring Equipment. Dust Monitoring Equipment – Supply and Services of Dust Monitoring Equipment. Dust Buckets. Dust monitoring training courses. Dust Watch.

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

Fun Facts about Mining

For something a bit lighter!  Here are a few fun facts about mining.

Follow the links to the source of the information.

Fun Facts about Mining

https://www.generalkinematics.com/blog/7-fun-facts-mining-industry/

7 FUN FACTS ABOUT THE MINING INDUSTRY

“Around the world, countries of all shapes and sizes depend on the vast wealth of resources waiting just underneath the surface of the planet. For centuries, mankind has used mining techniques as the basis for ushering entire civilizations into grand new eras.

Mining has become an integral part of the economy for almost every developing nation. The practice has created a rich history. Let look at a few fascinating facts about the mining industry.

1. The first metals to be unearthed were gold and copper.

Copper finds have dated back to 8,700 BC. Scientists have even located copper pipes that dated back more than five thousand years.

2. Individual Americans use an average of 40,000 pounds of minerals each year.

From the vitamins we use to ward off colds (zinc is great for that) to the minerals that we use to flavor our food (e.g. salt), Americans consume a myriad of minerals daily.

3. Petroleum is used in more than 6,000 daily items.

Far more than simply fueling our vehicles and heating our homes, petroleum is used in plastic, crayons, DVDs, and more.

4. The ‘Luck of the Irish’ is an old mining term.

During the gold and silver rushes in Western America, some of the most famous and successful miners were Irish immigrants or of Irish descent. This phenomenon gave rise to the phrase “The Luck of the Irish.”

5. The average modern electronic device has more than 35 minerals in it.

From the smartphone in your pocket to the computer you rely on for work, modern electronics use gold, copper, zinc (which is 100 percent recyclable, by the way), and several other minerals to function properly.

6. There’s more than one ‘Fool’s Gold’

You knew that pyrite was called “Fool’s Gold,” but so is chalcopyrite and biotite mica.

7. Gold is elusive.

It’s believed that upwards of 80% of the world’s gold has yet to be discovered and is still buried beneath the earth’s surface. And did you know that pure gold is so soft that it can be molded with nothing more than a simple hand tool?

The world of mining has been a benefit to mankind since its inception, and thanks to the innovations in vibratory equipment from General Kinematics it will continue to be a beneficial trade in the coming decades. Let GK put their revolutionary mining technology to work for you.”

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10 INTERESTING MINING FACTS YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW
February 2, 2017/in Mining/Heavy Industrial by Dana Belstler

https://johnsonsearchgroup.com/2017/02/10-interesting-mining-facts-probably-didnt-know/

“It’s no secret that mining is important to our economy, but I don’t think most people realize how vital and integrated the mining industry is in our everyday lives! For instance, did you know…

1. Every American uses an average of 40,000 pounds of new minerals each year.

2. A newborn baby will need during its lifetime:

800 pounds of lead
750 pounds of zinc
1500 pounds of aluminum
32,700 pounds of iron
26,550 pounds of clay
28,213 pounds of salt
1,238,101 pounds of stone, sand, gravel, and cement

3. Because of wood shortages in the 1600’s, Brewers in England started drying their Malts with heat generated by coal. Unfortunately, coal flavored beer was not a hit. After more experimentation, the brewers found that the undesirable gases could be eliminated by heating the coal in an airtight oven. Thus, the discovery of the coke making process, so vital to iron and steel! The next time you have a cold one, give a toast to the Brewers of the 1600’s!

4. Copper and Gold were the first two metals discovered by man, with Copper dating back to 8,700 BC, per Wikipedia. Slag found on islands in the Aegean Sea suggests that man was separating silver from lead as early as 3000 B.C.!

5. In ancient times, an ounce of salt was traded for an ounce of gold! Fast forward to present day: Can you imagine $1,200/oz. for salt?

6. Out of all the elements, Silver is the best conductor and thus the reason it is used so heavily in technology.

7. Silver is also a superior anti-bacterial. Small concentrations kill bacteria by chemically breaking down their cell membranes. Bacteria does not develop a resistance to silver!

8. Zinc is the fourth most widely consumed metal after iron, aluminum, and copper and is also vital to the human body for proper function and health. Zinc is needed for the body’s enzymes and immune system. (Zinc tablets to ward off colds!)

9. Indium is a byproduct of zinc production and is also used in high technology applications from LCD screens to solar panels.

10. Wyoming is the nation’s top coal-producing state. Who knew?

Being on the Mining Team at Johnson Search Group, I have had the pleasure of speaking with the men and women in the industry and wish to extend a big “Thank you”, for all the hard work you do in keeping us in the lifestyles we are accustomed to!”

Sources

http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/education/teachers/activities/soudan_mine/miningfacts.html
http://geology.com/usgs/uses-of-zinc/
http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/blogs/10-elements-crucial-to-modern-life-that-youve-probably
http://igentry.blogspot.com/2008/07/interesting-facts-about-silver.html

 

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

Air Quality – Economies, Ecosystems and Children

Air pollution and air quality affects all of us.  Here are some articles relating to it’s impact on economies, ecosystems and children’s health.

Please follow the links to read the articles at source.

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How air quality affects economies and ecosystems

https://www.pca.state.mn.us/air/how-air-quality-affects-economies-and-ecosystems

“Clean air means healthier ecosystems

Air pollution affects the ecosystems that Minnesotans value. Pollutants in our air reduce visibility, creating a haze that can affect scenic views in pristine places such as the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Voyageurs National Park, as well as in our urban areas.

Minnesota’s lakes and streams can be harmed by air pollution that causes acid rain, and fish can be affected by mercury that settles out of the air and into the water. In addition, emissions of greenhouse gases contribute to climate change, which will cause significant changes to Minnesota’s ecosystems in the years to come. Reducing air pollution means protecting the wild places we enjoy and the plants and animals that inhabit them.

Clean air means a stronger economy
The money spent on reducing pollution in Minnesota often stays in Minnesota. Companies that design, install, maintain, and operate pollution-reducing processes and equipment create thousands of high-paying green jobs in engineering, manufacturing, construction, materials, operation, and maintenance.

Cleaner air and a growing economy can go hand in hand. Since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, emissions of common air pollutants in the U.S. have dropped 70 percent while the U.S. gross domestic product has grown nearly 250 percent.

Cleaner air protects the fish and natural places that many Minnesotans rely on for their livelihoods. Air pollution can also cause damage to crops and forests. Clear skies, edible fish, and healthy crop and forest land are critical to Minnesota’s economy.

Because cleaner air also improves our health, having good air quality means fewer missed work and school days and less spending on air pollution-related illness. We estimate the overall economic impact of health effects associated with exposure to current levels of air pollution in Minnesota may exceed $30 billion per year.

Cleaner air means a strong, diverse economy for all Minnesotans.”

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Children’s environmental health

WHO – https://www.who.int/health-topics/children-environmental-health#tab=tab_1

“Reducing environmental risks could prevent 1 in 4 child deaths. In 2012, 1.7 million deaths in children under five were attributable to the environment. These included 570 000 deaths from respiratory infections, 361 000 deaths from diarrhoea, 270 000 deaths from neonatal conditions, 200 000 deaths from malaria and 200 000 deaths from unintentional injuries.

Environmental risks have an impact on the health and development of children, from conception through childhood and adolescence and also into adulthood. The environment determines a child’s future: early life exposures impact on adult health as fetal programming and early growth may be altered by environmental risk factors.

Adverse environmental conditions and pollution are a major contributor to childhood deaths, illnesses and disability, particularly in developing countries.

Children are particularly vulnerable to certain environmental risks, including: air pollution; inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene; hazardous chemicals and waste, radiation; climate change; as well as emerging threats like e-waste.

Risks
Children are more vulnerable than adults to environmental risks:

Children are constantly growing. They breathe more air, consume more food, and drink more water than adults do, in proportion to their weight;
Children’s systems are still developing. This includes their central nervous, immune, reproductive, and digestive systems. At certain early stages of development, exposure to environmental toxicants can lead to irreversible damage;
Children behave differently from adults and this means there are different ways they can be exposed to environmental risks. For example, young children crawl on the ground where they may be exposed to dust and chemicals that accumulate on floors and soils;
Children have little control over their environment. Unlike adults, they may be both unaware of risks and unable to make choices to protect their health.
Environmental risks account for 25% of the disease burden in children under five. Children’s health problems often result from exposure to a number of environmental risk factors in the places where they live, work, play and learn.

Only through adopting a holistic approach to environmental risk factors can significant progress be made in reducing the environmental burden of disease on a global scale. Such an approach means involvement across sectors and at all levels of society including individuals, communities, municipalities, healthcare professionals, and policy makers.

Capacity
Childhood diseases related to environmental factors represent an enormous global public health problem. This is particularly true in developing countries and impoverished communities, where there is often lack of awareness and knowledge about the effects of environmental hazards on children’s health.
To help address this problem, WHO prepares information and training materials and implements training activities. To allow healthcare providers to better identify and prevent childhood diseases related to environmental risk factors, experts from both developed and developing countries have been involved in the preparation and peer-review of materials on specific environmental topics.”

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

Air Quality - Economies, Ecosystems and Children

DustWatch Product Videos

Hello everyone!

Take a look at our new dust bucket units.  Follow the links to watch the instructional videos.

In the first video, Chris Loans will show you how to change the buckets on the new DustWatch unit.

The second video is an operational training video on our new American type unit. The video will show you how to assemble and disassemble the unit.

Video – How to change buckets

Video – American type unit

I hope you enjoy the videos and find them helpful.

Have a great day!

DustWatch Product Videos

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

Dust Monitoring Training Courses August 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for August 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2020 - Chris Loans

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course is 11th August 2020 Pretoria.

11-13 Aug (Pretoria)

R4400 per person per day. The course has 3 CPD points if all three days are attended.

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

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

Synopsis of Training – Practical 1 Day:

  • Changing DustWatch buckets
  • Basic operational use of the DustWatch units
  • Filtering water from the buckets and collecting the dust on filters.

Synopsis of Training – Theoretical 2 Days:

  • What is fallout dust and how to collect it;
  • Settling velocity and shape of dust particles;
  • Understand how to calculate the fallout dust monitoring results in mg/m2/day and how to interpret these results;
  • Trace element analysis;
  • South African legislation interpretation;
  • Report writing and interpretation of results.

Sincerely

Chris Loans