What happens if you inhale concrete, stone or wood dust?
Construction and other work involving a lot of dust can be hazardous for many reasons. Inhaling concrete, stone or certain types of wood dust are ways you could damage your body long term. Therefore, it's imperative to exercise caution.
Inhaling Concrete or Stone Dust
Some of the most hazardous dust on job sites can be released by cutting, grinding or blasting concrete and engineered stone. You may also accidentally inhale such dust by breathing in the material when opening a bag.
The dangers of inhaling concrete dust and stone dust should never be played down. Dust from both can carry high volumes of silica, which can travel into your lungs and cause scar tissue or cell necrosis. When enough silica crystals are inhaled over time, lungs can be damaged beyond repair.
Crystalline silica is microscopic and that makes it impossible to spot with the naked eye when working with concrete and stone. People whose lungs may be affected by inhaling silica long term may be diagnosed with Silicosis, a disease that occurs when silica dust is inhaled to a potentially fatal extent.
Inhaling Wood Dust
Inhaling wood dust is generally a lower risk but still a legitimate health concern. When inhaled, wood dust may cause irritation and can lead to diminished lung capacity. Research has shown that wood dust can also cause cancers of the throat and in and around the nasal cavity. Lung walls may also become inflamed, and prolonged exposure may also lead to hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Because of these dangers, it's important that you use dust extraction as well as respiratory protection when working with such materials. Are you doing enough?
Protecting Against Hazardous Dust
In most cases, simply wearing ventilation masks isn't enough. As well as wearing necessary safety equipment, and taking care to control dust exposure in the nearby environment, you must also consider tools and dust extraction systems that minimise dust created in the first place and capture and remove the dust that is generated. You will then be able to safely dispose of the dust without the risk of your team being harmed.
Free Dust Safety Resources For You
Here at Festool, we are committed to educating on how to protect against hazardous dust. Our state-of-the-art dust extraction systems cover both on-tool and dust extraction units. Take a look at our dust extraction system online, or call our expert team on 1300 063 900 to learn more.
We also offer free tool demonstrations on all our products so if this is of interest, book here.
Disclaimer: This information is not endorsed by any Work Health and Safety governing body and shouldn't be interpreted as any form of legal or health advice. All regulatory and compliance enquiries must go to the relevant Worksafe organisation responsible for each region of Australia. All health-based enquiries should be discussed with and handled by a Medical Professional. Information provided in this article is accurate as of August 2019.