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.”

For the full article, please follow the link above.

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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.

What happens to dust in the air you breathe in your lungs?

Lungs

Here is some information about what happens when you breath in dust……..  I trust you’ll find it informative.

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“What happens to dust in the air you breathe in your lungs?Quora – Shreya Thacker, Physical and Respiratory Therapist

Our lungs are self-cleansing.

Throughout the respiratory system, there are various checkpoints that deploy different defenses against the microbes/dust particles.

The first defense is in the form of nasal hair. Nasal hair act like a filter that sifts the inhaled air to remove bacteria/fungi/viruses/any other offensive specks (dust, pollen, etc).

The smaller filtered particles, along with nasal secretions – which is mostly water, form the boogers (yuck, I know).

The larger particles, that often irritate the nasal mucous membranes, trigger a sneeze. This explosive and often violent expulsion of air is usually enough to clear the nose of the irritants.

The second defense is in the form of a sticky, gel-like substance called the mucus. Mucus is famous among children as the snot and among adults as the phlegm.

About a liter of mucus is produced every day by the airways. More, when we’re sick. (This why we don’t notice its presence when healthy)

The purpose of the sticky mucus, among many other things, is to trap dust particles from the inspired air.

The trapped dust and the mucus are constantly moved towards the upper airway (nose and mouth) in a sweeping motion to be expelled by tiny hair-like structures called cilia. Cilia move in a wave-like motion — back and forth — beating 11-14 times/second.

The larger trapped particles that cause throat irritation trigger a cough. The ones in the nose stimulate a sneeze. Alternatively, one could simply spit or blow the mucus out.

However, most of the mucus is swallowed. It passes through the alimentary canal, like food and water, without any adverse effects.

Finally, the smallest of the particles that escape and slide through the cracks in first two defense systems to reach the lungs face the wrath of the immune system.

Macrophages, type of white blood cells, quite literally engulf, ingest, digest, and neutralize the offending agent.

All these mechanisms, when work together, simultaneously and efficiently, ensure the lungs are free of the allergic, disease inducing particles.”

Lungs

“What are the Effects of Dust on the Lungs? – CCOHS

The lungs are constantly exposed to danger from the dusts we breathe. Luckily, the lungs have another function – they have defense mechanisms that protects them by removing dust particles from the respiratory system. For example, during a lifetime, a coal miner may inhale 1,000 g of dust into his lungs. When doctors examine the lungs of a miner after death, they find no more than 40 g of dust. Such a relatively small residue illustrates the importance of the lungs’ defenses, and certainly suggests that they are quite effective. On the other hand, even though the lungs can clear themselves, excessive inhalation of dust may result in disease.

The lungs are protected by a series of defense mechanisms in different regions of the respiratory tract.

When a person breathes in, particles suspended in the air enter the nose, but not all of them reach the lungs. The nose is an efficient filter. Most large particles are stopped in it, until they are removed mechanically by blowing the nose or sneezing.

Some of the smaller particles succeed in passing through the nose to reach the windpipe and the dividing air tubes that lead to the lungs.
These tubes are called bronchi and bronchioles. All of these airways are lined by cells. The mucus they produce catches most of the dust particles. Tiny hairs called cilia, covering the walls of the air tubes, move the mucus upward and out into the throat, where it is either coughed up and spat out, or swallowed.

The air reaches the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the inner part of the lungs with any dust particles that avoided the defenses in the nose and airways. The air sacs are very important because through them, the body receives oxygen and releases carbon dioxide.

Dust that reaches the sacs and the lower part of the airways where there are no cilia is attacked by special cells called macrophages. These are extremely important for the defense of the lungs. They keep the air sacs clean. Macrophages virtually swallow the particles. Then the macrophages, in a way which is not well understood, reach the part of the airways that is covered by cilia. The wavelike motions of the cilia move the macrophages which contain dust to the throat, where they are spat out or swallowed.

Besides macrophages, the lungs have another system for the removal of dust. The lungs can react to the presence of germ-bearing particles by producing certain proteins. These proteins attach to particles to neutralize them.

Dusts are tiny solid particles scattered or suspended in the air. The particles are “inorganic” or “organic,” depending on the source of the dust. Inorganic dusts can come from grinding metals or minerals such as rock or soil. Examples of inorganic dusts are silica, asbestos, and coal.

Organic dusts originate from plants or animals. An example of organic dust is dust that arises from handling grain. These dusts can contain a great number of substances. Aside from the vegetable or animal component, organic dusts may also contain fungi or microbes and the toxic substances given off by microbes. For example, histoplasmosis, psittacosis and Q Fever are diseases that people can get if they breathe in organic that are infected with a certain microorganisms.

Dusts can also come from organic chemicals (e.g., dyes, pesticides). However, in this OSH Answers document, we are only considering dust particles that cause fibrosis or allergic reactions in the lungs. We are not including chemical dusts that cause other acute toxic effects, nor long term effects such as cancer for example.

What are the reactions of the lungs to dust?
The way the respiratory system responds to inhaled particles depends, to a great extent, on where the particle settles. For example, irritant dust that settles in the nose may lead to rhinitis, an inflammation of the mucous membrane. If the particle attacks the larger air passages, inflammation of the trachea (tracheitis) or the bronchi (bronchitis) may be seen.

The most significant reactions of the lung occur in the deepest parts of this organ.

Particles that evade elimination in the nose or throat tend to settle in the sacs or close to the end of the airways. But if the amount of dust is large, the macrophage system may fail. Dust particles and dust-containing macrophages collect in the lung tissues, causing injury to the lungs.

The amount of dust and the kinds of particles involved influence how serious the lung injury will be. For example, after the macrophages swallow silica particles, they die and give off toxic substances. These substances cause fibrous or scar tissue to form. This tissue is the body’s normal way of repairing itself. However, in the case of crystalline silica so much fibrous tissue and scarring form that lung function can be impaired. The general name for this condition for fibrous tissue formation and scarring is fibrosis. The particles which cause fibrosis or scarring are called fibrogenic. When fibrosis is caused by crystalline silica, the condition is called silicosis.”

For more information please follow the link above to read the full article
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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.

Canadian government asked to make formal apology to asbestos victims

Canadian government asked to make formal apology to asbestos victims

By – Kathleen Ruff, RightOnCanada.ca, March 20, 2018

RightOnCanada has called on the the Canadian government to make a formal apology to asbestos victims in Canada and overseas for having concealed for decades the hazardousness of asbestos and promoted its use.

The Canadian government is holding consultations with Canadian organisations and businesses until March 22 to get their comments on the government’s proposed regulations to ban asbestos and asbestos-containing products.

In its submission, RightOnCanada asks the government to set up a national fund to compensate victims of asbestos, include asbestos mining wastes under its regulations, as recommended by all 18 Quebec Directors of Public Health, and set up a National Asbestos panel to develop and implement a national strategy to protect Canadians from asbestos harm. It calls on the government to practice transparency and to create whistle-blower protection.

It asks the Canadian government to clearly prohibit the export of any asbestos or any asbestos-containing product.

Read the full submission here: http://rightoncanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Federal-asbestos-regulations-submission-Kathleen-Ruff-March-20-2018.pdf

Asbestos

This article below is from the University of Oregon – Why is asbestos so dangerous?

“When is Asbestos Dangerous?
The most common way for asbestos fibers to enter the body is through breathing. In fact, asbestos containing material is not generally considered to be harmful unless it is releasing dust or fibers into the air where they can be inhaled or ingested. Many of the fibers will become trapped in the mucous membranes of the nose and throat where they can then be removed, but some may pass deep into the lungs, or, if swallowed, into the digestive tract. Once they are trapped in the body, the fibers can cause health problems.

Asbestos is most hazardous when it is friable. The term “friable” means that the asbestos is easily crumbled by hand, releasing fibers into the air. Sprayed on asbestos insulation is highly friable. Asbestos floor tile is not.

Asbestos-containing ceiling tiles, floor tiles, undamaged laboratory cabinet tops, shingles, fire doors, siding shingles, etc. will not release asbestos fibers unless they are disturbed or damaged in some way. If an asbestos ceiling tile is drilled or broken, for example, it may release fibers into the air. If it is left alone and not disturbed, it will not.

Damage and deterioration will increase the friability of asbestos-containing materials. Water damage, continual vibration, aging, and physical impact such as drilling, grinding, buffing, cutting, sawing, or striking can break the materials down making fiber release more likely.

Health Effects
Because it is so hard to destroy asbestos fibers, the body cannot break them down or remove them once they are lodged in lung or body tissues. They remain in place where they can cause disease.

There are three primary diseases associated with asbestos exposure:

Asbestosis
Lung Cancer
Mesothelioma
Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a serious, chronic, non-cancerous respiratory disease. Inhaled asbestos fibers aggravate lung tissues, which cause them to scar. Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath and a dry crackling sound in the lungs while inhaling. In its advanced stages, the disease may cause cardiac failure.

There is no effective treatment for asbestosis; the disease is usually disabling or fatal. The risk of asbestosis is minimal for those who do not work with asbestos; the disease is rarely caused by neighborhood or family exposure. Those who renovate or demolish buildings that contain asbestos may be at significant risk, depending on the nature of the exposure and precautions taken.

Lung Cancer
Lung cancer causes the largest number of deaths related to asbestos exposure. The incidence of lung cancer in people who are directly involved in the mining, milling, manufacturing and use of asbestos and its products is much higher than in the general population. The most common symptoms of lung cancer are coughing and a change in breathing. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, persistent chest pains, hoarseness, and anemia.

People who have been exposed to asbestos and are also exposed to some other carcinogen — such as cigarette smoke — have a significantly greater risk of developing lung cancer than people who have only been exposed to asbestos. One study found that asbestos workers who smoke are about 90 times more likely to develop lung cancer than people who neither smoke nor have been exposed to asbestos.

Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that most often occurs in the thin membrane lining of the lungs, chest, abdomen, and (rarely) heart. About 200 cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. Virtually all cases of mesothelioma are linked with asbestos exposure. Approximately 2 percent of all miners and textile workers who work with asbestos, and 10 percent of all workers who were involved in the manufacture of asbestos-containing gas masks, contract mesothelioma.

People who work in asbestos mines, asbestos mills and factories, and shipyards that use asbestos, as well as people who manufacture and install asbestos insulation, have an increased risk of mesothelioma. So do people who live with asbestos workers, near asbestos mining areas, near asbestos product factories or near shipyards where use of asbestos has produced large quantities of airborne asbestos fibers.

Other Cancers
Evidence suggests that cancers in the esophagus, larynx, oral cavity, stomach, colon and kidney may be caused by ingesting asbestos. For more information on asbestos-related cancers, contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society.

Determining Factors
Three things seem to determine your likelihood of developing one of these asbestos related diseases:

The amount and duration of exposure – the more you are exposed to asbestos and the more fibers that enter your body, the more likely you are to develop asbestos related problems. While there is no “safe level” of asbestos exposure, people who are exposed more frequently over a long period of time are more at risk.

Whether or not you smoke – if you smoke and you have been exposed to asbestos, you are far more likely to develop lung cancer than someone who does not smoke and who has not been exposed to asbestos. If you work with asbestos or have been exposed to it, the first thing you should do to reduce your chances of developing cancer is to stop smoking.

Age – cases of mesothelioma have occurred in the children of asbestos workers whose only exposures were from the dust brought home on the clothing of family members who worked with asbestos. The younger people are when they inhale asbestos, the more likely they are to develop mesothelioma. This is why enormous efforts are being made to prevent school children from being exposed.
Because each exposure to asbestos increases the body burden of asbestos fibers, it is very important to reduce and minimize your exposure.”

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Hope you found this informative!  Enjoy your day. Chris

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

 

Dust and Farming

A couple of good articles on the problems of dust in the agricultural sector.

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Dust particles in livestock facilities – Phys Org – University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – https://phys.org/news/2017-07-particles-livestock-facilities.html

“A beam of sunlight streams into your living room, illuminating a Milky Way of dust particles hanging in the air. Although the air looks thick, those visible dust particles are so big that they can’t reach the smallest branches of the respiratory tree in your lungs. It’s the dust we can’t see—smaller than 2.5 microns, called PM 2.5—that can cause allergies and other respiratory problems.

Inside livestock facilities, the dust particles are much more abundant than in a living room, and can cause pulmonary problems for anyone who breathes the air, including the animals. A recent research project on air quality characterizes the dust particles found in different livestock facilities. For the study, the air was sampled for three consecutive days in each of three types of animal production facilities—poultry, dairy, and swine.

“If you’re going to regulate air quality, first you have to measure it. And before you measure it, you have to characterize how to measure it and what’s in it,” says Richard Gates, professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at University of Illinois and member of the research project team.

Gates says not all livestock facility dust is alike. “In order to manage or regulate the dust, we first have to understand its characteristics. Until we have that, we can’t make models that describe the emission from a building, how much of it drops out within 100 yards of a building, and how much of it travels much further from the facility.”

According to Gates, laying hen facilities are recognized as a very dusty environment; a dairy facility is a very open, airy environment with lots of fresh air; and a swine-finishing building, although not considered to be terribly dusty, is actually the worst overall in dust level, especially at the most dangerous particulate matter (PM) level.

“Of the three types of livestock buildings, swine facilities tip the scales in terms of having the highest amount of the dangerously small, PM 2.5 size particulate matter—significantly higher,” Gates says.

Anecdotally, Gates says a high percentage of people who work in livestock facilities, over time, develop respiratory issues. “They should be wearing protective masks at all times. On bigger farms it’s a requirement,” he says. “In the early days of raising livestock, masks weren’t available, and in developing countries, availability is still an issue. And pigs are affected, too. One of the major challenges in swine production is keeping them healthy without the use of antibiotics, and respiratory stress is one of the health issues.”

The lead researcher on the project, Ehab Mostafa, collected the data at livestock facilities in Germany, which are believed to be comparable in terms of dust to facilities in the United States, and conducted the first analysis. Mostafa also developed a sedimentation cylinder to measure the particulate matter. Air is blown into the top of the cylinder. Then a particle counter inside measures the density and weight-per-surface area of the particulates as they fall to the bottom.

“Interestingly, the particles are not all spherical,” Gates says. “Without scientific ways to characterize their shapes, then every model that we use to predict how many there are and how to measure them and their fate are wrong – because the models have been assuming spherical particles. We’ve known that they couldn’t all be perfectly round, but this study demonstrates you can use these derived values and improve predictions for more accurate models by accounting for differences in properties at different sizes and types of particulate matter.”

Gates says this research is a rigorous scientific approach to characterizing these particles. The information will be used as input for models to discover the fate of the dust as it leaves the building and its effect on the external environment.

“There are important outcomes from this research,” Gates says. “One is to characterize what’s going on in these three types of facilities. Then, with that information, we can compare it to what we already have for health standards for humans and animals. For example OSHA has an 8-hour exposure limit for PM 2.5.”

The study, “Physical properties of particulate matter from animal houses—empirical studies to improve emission modelling,” is published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research.”
More information: Ehab Mostafa et al. Physical properties of particulate matter from animal houses—empirical studies to improve emission modelling, Environmental Science and Pollution Research (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s11356-016-6424-8
Journal reference: Environmental Science and Pollution Research

Provided by: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dust and Farming

Health Hazards In Agriculture – An Emerging Issue  – National Ag Safety Database – By Bradley K Rein – http://nasdonline.org/1246/d001050/health-hazards-in-agriculture-an-emerging-issue.html

“Perhaps more than any other occupational group, agricultural workers are exposed to a tremendous variety of environmental hazards that are potentially harmful to their health and well-being. Farmers and farm workers suffer from increased rates of respiratory diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, skin disorders, certain cancers, chemical toxicity, and heat-related illnesses. There are precautions that can be taken to minimize or eliminate these potential hazards.

RESPIRATORY HAZARDS

Farming situations present several respiratory hazards to farm workers. Exposure to these hazards has been linked to excessive coughing and congestion in 20 to 90 percent of farm workers and families. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis were observed in as many as 50 percent of swine confinement workers and grain handlers.
Organic Dust Toxic Syndrome (ODTS) is a common respiratory illness manifested by temporary influenza-like illness with fever, headache, and muscle aches and pains. Although much less common than ODTS, Farmer’s Lung is an allergic reaction caused by inhaling dust from moldy hay, straw, and grain. Dairy and grain farmers are the most common victims. The months when moldy crops are handled indoors are the most dangerous. For those who are susceptible, repeated exposure damages lung tissue, ca sing shortness of breath and a growing inability to perform strenuous work. Victims eventually may find it a struggle even to get out of a chair.

Dust from moldy hay, grain, and silage can also cause ODTS, which has symptoms resembling Farmer’s Lung. However, ODTS does not produce long-term illness or cause permanent lung damage.

Nuisance dusts and gases also are hazards. Suspended dust particles not containing spores from moldy organic matter are considered nuisance dusts. Repeated exposure can turn portions of the lung into hardened, nonfunctioning tissue and cause chronic bronchitis and occupational asthma.

A variety of disabling gases, including nitrogen dioxide (NO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), ammonia (NH3), Carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4), are produced during many routine operations. Exposure to low levels of NO2, H2S, or NH3 will produce lung and eye irritations, dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches. High levels of H2S, particularly, and NO2, secondarily, will quickly render a worker unconscious and death will follow.

The best prevention of respiratory disease is to wear a respirator approved by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Air-purifying respirators remove contaminants from the air, but can only be used in environments with enough oxygen to sustain life. Supplied-air respirators must be used in oxygen-limited environments, or in environments with acute toxic gas levels.

NOISE

Agricultural noise is another common health hazard on the farm. It is estimated that 10 percent of U.S. farm workers are exposed to average daily noise levels above 85 decibels, which is the “action” level at which hearing conservation program are required for industrial workers. Studies at the Universities of Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Iowa found that noise-induced hearing loss has been found to affect a quarter of younger farmers, and at least 50 percent of older farmers. Significant numbers develop a communication handicap by age 30.
Prolonged exposure to excessive noise, such as that produced by tractors, combines, choppers, grain dryers, and chainsaws, can cause permanent hearing loss unless noise-control measures are taken. Ears provide two warning signs for overexposure: temporary threshold shift (TTF) and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). The two types of hearing protection available are ear muffs and ear plugs. Ear muffs are more effective, but the level of protection varies due to differences in size, shape, seal material, shell mass, and type of suspension. Ear plugs may be custom fined or preformed rubber, plastic, or foam inserts. Preformed inserts are cheaper, but ear plugs properly inserted into the ear and custom-fitted by trained personnel are more effective because the ear canal shape may vary.

If you are continually exposed to loud noises, you should have periodic hearing tests. This test, called an audiogram, will reveal signs of hearing loss. If a hearing loss is noted, take steps to reduce exposure, thereby eliminating further damage to your ears.”

Please follow the link above to read the full article.

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Enjoy your day! Chris

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

Mining News

Below are some interesting articles regarding Anglo American’s commitment to sustainability and cleaning up mines…………..

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Anglo commits to ambitious sustainability strategyhttp://www.miningweekly.com/article/anglo-commits-to-ambitious-sustainability-strategy-2018-03-14

BY: MARTIN CREAMER

“JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Diversified mining company Anglo American has outlined an innovative approach to three major areas of sustainability – the environment, community development, and driving greater trust and transparency across the mining industry.

Its ambitious goals include:

  • Creating five jobs off-site for every job on-site in its host communities;
  • Working with government to ensure every school in host communities performs amongst the top 20% of state schools in the country;
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30%;
  • Improving energy efficiency by 30%; and
  • Reducing freshwater abstraction by 50% in water-scarce regions.

“Delivering on these commitments will transform the way Anglo American does business,” said Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani in a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online.

Presenting a different picture of the future of mining, the sustainability strategy commits to keeping people and the environment safe, supporting excellent education and using collaborative regional development to provide sustainable benefits for host communities.

“The financial benefits to our business by 2030 are expected to be significant, including from substantially reduced energy and water costs. At the same time, we expect our innovative approach and the technologies we are developing to open up new mineral resource opportunities for us over the medium term,” Cutifani added.

The sustainability strategy acknowledges metals and minerals as precious ingredients that enable and celebrate many aspects of modern life.

“If Anglo American is to play its part in creating a sustainable future for the world and improving the lives of all of us who live here, then we must be prepared to challenge our business and ourselves, by re-imagining mining,” he said.

Anglo American’s sustainability strategy is part of FutureSmart Mining™, a blueprint for a safer, more sustainable and efficient business that is better harmonised with the needs of host communities.

This strategy, which has been developed following a robust consultation process, is in alignment with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Mining News

Anglo says cleaning up mining will earn it billions in profithttp://www.miningweekly.com/article/anglo-says-cleaning-up-mining-will-earn-it-billions-in-profit-2018-03-14/rep_id:3650

BY: BLOOMBERG

“LONDON – Mining is a dirty business, but Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani says it doesn’t have to be.

The miner of everything from copper to diamonds to iron ore is overhauling its sustainability targets, and predicts it can earn an extra $9-billion through 2030 by improving the way it mines and boosting relations with governments and communities.

In an industry that rips up massive areas of pristine landscape while consuming valuable water and pumping out dust and pollution, companies that don’t become better corporate citizens will face higher costs, mounting opposition and lose out on new deposits, Cutifani said in an interview.

“We need access to resources,” he said. “If you don’t have good relationships you don’t get access to ground; if you don’t have access to ground you can’t develop a mine.”

Companies around the world are facing increased pressure to improve, and not just from ethical investors. Cutifani was among CEOs who received an open letter from BlackRock’s CEO Larry Fink in January in which he called for companies to set out strategies for long-term, sustainable growth.

POSITIVE CONTRIBUTION
“To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society,” Fink wrote.

Anglo’s nine new targets range from reducing freshwater usage by 50% and cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30%, to less tangible goals such as improving accountability and policy advocacy.

The company will spend about $200-million a year on the sustainability goals, which also include health, education and livelihood programs, such as creating five jobs in a region where it operates for every direct employee.

Anglo has worked hard to reposition itself in the past decades. Once the corporate face of apartheid South Africa, the company was the country’s largest conglomerate and owned everything from banks to paper factories. In recent years, it’s managed to avoid the type of controversy that embroiled rivals like BHP Billiton and Vale, which had licences to a Brazilian iron-ore project stripped after a dam rupture that killed 19, or Rio Tinto, which is facing corruption and fraud probes related to African mines.

Yet things still go wrong. Just yesterday, the company halted some operations at its iron-ore mine in Brazil after a pipeline rupture. Anglo says it’s trying to identify the cause of the spill and guarantee that it did not inflict serious environmental damage to the surrounding area and a nearby water supply.

THERMAL COAL
Anglo also remains one of the world’s biggest producers of thermal coal, the dirtiest fuel, which has become a focus for many of the investors who are likely to be impressed by the company’s ambitious targets.

Anglo said during the depths of the last commodity slump in early 2016 that it would sell out of coal, but has reversed course after a dramatic rebound in prices. While production has fallen more than 20% in the past five years, including for steelmaking coal, the fuel was still the single biggest contributor to the company’s earnings last year, adding almost $3-billion.

“It’s an issue,” said Cutifani. “For many developing countries it remains an important source of energy. We will not be increasing our footprint, but you can’t just dump people who live and depend on thermal coal.””

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Trust you enjoyed the read. Regards, Chris

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