Dust Types



When working in a dusty environment and especially when handling materials that generate large quantities of dust, your main priority should be protecting your health! How harmful the dust is to your health depends on the size of the dust particles as well as the quantity and time that the materials remain inside your lungs. The smaller the dust particles are, the deeper they can penetrate into the lung tissue and this is why finer dust particles are much more harmful to the airways. Many dust particles are even categorised as extremely hazardous to health.

For example, crystalline silicon dioxide is closely associated with the development of lung cancer. In the interests of your own health, it is imperative that you keep the air clean when handling mineral dust that invariably contains quartziferous substances and always work with a certified and approved dust extractor or safety extractor.

The statutory provisions described in international standard IEC 60 335-2-69 apply to different dust classes. This standard categorizes dust into four different dust classes; L, M, H and EC.


Dust Class L

Simple, harmless dust such as house dust and materials such as soil.

With occupational exposure limits >1 mg/m(99% filter efficiency)

Festool Dust Extractors wth an L class filter include:

  • CTL 17
  • CTL 26
  • CTL 36
  • CTL 36 HD AC
  • CTL 48

For filtration with occupational exposure limits > 0.03 mg/m3, combine an L class dust extractor with a HEPA filter to receive 99.97% filter efficiency (not all dust extractors include a HEPA filter). This system is suitable for job sites with dust such as MDF, chipboard, hard and softwoods, sand, solid surface resin tops, paints and lead based paint removal.

For dust generated by working with plaster, the CTL 36 AC PLANEX and CTL 36 E PLANEX is recommended with a high performance filter.



Dust Class M

All wood dust and dust originating from repair compound, filler and clear coats, plaster, cement, concrete, tile cement and paints such as latex and oil paints or quartziferous materials such as sand and pebbles.

With occupational exposure limits >0.1 mg/m(99.9% filter efficiency)

Festool Dust Extractors wth an M class filter include:

  • CTM 26
  • CTM 36 AC

For dust generated by working with concrete (Respirable Crystalline Silica Dust), the CTM 36 AC is recommended with a High Performance filter.


Dust Class H

Carcinogenic dust, dust containing carcinogenic or pathogenic particles as well as dust containing mould spores, asbestos, mineral fibres, bitumen and artificial mineral fibres such as glass wool.

With occupational exposure limits >0.1 mg/m(99.995% filter efficiency)

Festool Dust Extractors with an H class filter include:

  • CTH 48


Respirable Crystalline Silica Dust

What is Respirable Crystalline Silica dust?

Crystalline silica is a natural mineral found in construction materials such as concrete, bricks, tiles, mortar and engineered stone.

The amount of crystalline silica in products can vary. Examples include:

  • brick: 5-15%
  • concrete: less than 30%
  • ceramic tiles: 5-45%
  • reconstituted stone: more than 80%

Silica dust is harmful when inhaled into your lungs. As it is 100 times smaller than a grain of sand, you can be breathing it in without knowing. If you’re not sure if a product contains crystalline silica, check the safety data sheet (SDS).

Exposure to silica dust can lead to the development of lung cancer, silicosis (an irreversible scarring and stiffening of the lungs), kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is estimated that 230 people develop lung cancer each year as a result of past exposure to silica dust at work. Not all exposed workers will develop cancer; cancer risk increases with long term or repeated high level exposure.

Today, all States and Territories in Australia have work health and safety laws that explain duty of care for employers and workers’ responsibilities:

Exposure levels:

The Australian exposure standard for airborne crystalline silica is 0.1mg/m3 over an 8-hour day. This limit is based on preventing silicosis and lung cancer.


On Tool Dust Extraction

This is a type of local exhaust ventilation (LEV) which is fitted directly onto the tool.

  • One effective form involves a LEV ‘system’ consisting of several individual parts – the tool, captor hood, dust class M or H extraction unit and tubing.
  • Integrated dust extraction devices are available for some hand-held tools. These self-contained units are fitted directly onto the tool where they automatically filter and collect dust. You should extract dust from the unit using a dust class M or H vacuum, or empty it directly into a waste bag in a way that does not generate dust when you dispose of it.


Filter Bags

International standard IEC 60 335-2-69 requires class M and H mobile dust extractors to use filter or disposal bags because dust must not be dissipated during the disposal process. Only the use of filter bags or disposal bags can guarantee this.

When extracting without a filter bag or disposal bag, you should also consider that it takes much longer to empty and clean the collection container than change the bag. If you calculate the cost of this additional time at the relevant hourly rate, the price of a filter bag/disposal bag represents a much more economical alternative.

A filter bag is usually made of a special cloth or paper material and is completely sealed, whereas a disposal bag is manufactured from a plastic material similar to a classic refuse bag. It is open at the top and placed into the container so that the edge of the bag protrudes over the edge of the container slightly and can be folded over. Disposal bags were developed specially for extractors with an automatic filter cleaning system. Accordingly, only one type of disposal bag can be used in these extractors. Typical applications include work that generates large quantities of fine dust, such as sanding plasterboard filler.

For every Festool mobile dust extractor, there is a matching filter bag, designed for the relevant dust class and material to be extracted:

  • Selfclean filter bag - For disposable use with all kinds of dust. Prevents dust from caking on the sides through its self cleaning effect, and is sealed before disposal for maximum health protection.
  • Longlife filter bags - Reusable due to its high strength, three ply non woven polyester material. Ideal for large quantities of dust of class L. Easy to empty by opening the sealing strip.
  • Waste bag - Perfect for dust extractors with AUTOCLEAN, e.g. for use with the PLANEX long reach sander or for extraction of coarse waste and chips.
  • Low dust disposal thanks to a seal on the waste bag.
  • Two layer safety filter bag - A requirement for dust of class H. Extra safe, with an additional waste bag which encloses the non woven filter bag.