Health Risks from Dust in Industries

Most of us think of dust as a mere nuisance. We assume that the only dust around is the dust that we can see and feel, and for those of us in the construction & manufacturing industries, it is something that clogs our machinery and makes our floors slippery. However, this is not all that dust does. It is also extremely harmful to our lungs and can cause very serious diseases the longer we are exposed to it and the longer it goes unmonitored.

The difference between dust that we can see and dust that can enter our lungs is that the latter is almost invisible. With something like sawdust, this makes the working conditions even more dangerous, due to the unforeseen risk. The reason small particles such as these small wood dust particles cause such serious health concerns is the degree of penetration possible by their size. These dust particles can enter a worker’s airways, where they can lodge and release irritants.

These released irritants can eventually cause serious health problems, one of the most common being cancers in the upper respiratory tract. Therefore, it is no surprise that stomach cancer rates are significantly higher amongst construction workers, specifically those who work with wood.

dust related health risks in industries

dust extraction equipment and system in place to safeguard your workplace

Wood dust has been listed by the USA National Institute of Health as one of 200 recognised materials and chemicals likely to cause cancer since 2002. It was put on this list after becoming a serious concern for health authorities. Many wood manufacturers use a board called MDF along with a chipboard which has all sorts of glues and processed wood. The dust from this can be carcinogenic, and is actually banned in the USA.

The Australian OHS has stated that the most common standard for wood dust is 5 milligrams of dust in one cubic metre of air. Construction carpenters are considered be exposed to the widest range of dust, mostly because they work across a wide range of locations, from small walk-in closets to wide outdoor spaces.

The second most exposed group are turners, but most construction groups are at risk of high dust exposure when considering the OHS standard. Below is a list of occupations within the manufacturing industry with a high risk of dust exposure, listed from highest to lowest risk:

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  1. Construction Carpenter
  2. Lathe Operator
  3. Sander
  4. Wood Worker
  5. Cabinet Maker
  6. Router Operator
  7. Saw Operator

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Sanding is considered the most dangerous activity while working with wood, as it produces the most small particles and is often done very close to the body. A study done has shown that just two minutes of sanding sends the levels of dust in the shed well over the OHS standard. All of these occupations have dust exposure levels that are above the OHS standard, even though that standard is considered too high to begin with.

With many years of experience, dust veterans have come up with some clear guidelines for managing dust in the workplace. Those in the at-risk industries, such as construction & manufacturing, should not only be worried about wood dust, as many other forms of dust have health implications, such as grinding, welding, and spay painting.

The most effective solution for capturing and venting invisible dust has become known as the dust collector. A dust collector that captures 1,000 CFM, with ducting air speeds of 4,000 FPM is the best solution for machinery. This is the ONLY way to ensure that most of the fine dust is collected at the source, so that it does not escape into the lungs.

To give you a better idea of the urgency of this situation and the need for a dust collector, here are some useful woodworking machinery specs:

These days, new advanced technology in wood working machinery are working faster than ever. Therefore a machine that used to do 1700m3/hr (1000CFM) required a pick up velocity of 20.3 m/sec (4000FPM) and was extremely labour intensive. Now the modern advanced CNC Router machines, with built in software, need an air volume of, for example, 8500m3/hr (50003 CFM) at a pick velocity of 34m/sec. (6693FPM)

Air Volume: m3/hr Cubic Meters per hour or CFM = Cubic Feet per Minute

Air Speed/ velocity: meters per second or FPM = Feet per Minute

These innovative machines are pumping out enormous amounts of this nasty dust, and now require more powerful Dust Extractors to remove the dust. This creates a much bigger sense of urgency, as the dust needs to be captured faster before it can settle around the factory and do serious damage to the employees.

Dust Extraction offer several dust control solutions have the experience, knowledge and equipments. Our powerful extraction fans will safeguard your workers and your workplace safe and in compliance with the OHS standard. Please call us at 1300 800 380 to speak to our friendly staff today and organise a dust collector for your business.

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Paint

Painting has become one of the biggest home improvement jobs that don’t always require a professional. You may think you know all about painting but today you will learn 8 things you probably didn’t know about paint. Painting may seem simple, but there a lot of surprising things about paint, from The White House to before the birth of a nation and even as far back as The Middle Ages. There are many surprising facts about paint that most people don’t know at all. So sit back and let’s learn something new.

1: Purple became a royal color because only the very rich could afford it. Why? Because the process of making purple paint was very complex. You see, during roman times you had to crush 4 million mollusk shells just to get a pound of purple paint! Now that’s a lot of shells.

2: Most Native Americans actually use black paint to signify life and yellow paint to signify death. This is interesting because in many cultures this is usually the opposite. Life is signified by yellow, because of the sun and daytime and black signifies death because of the night and also because black is the lack of color; like the lack of life.

3: Here’s something you probably didn’t know, The White House is painted every single year! Why? Because The White House is white because of the original lime-based whitewash that is used to protect the stone walls of the building; interesting.

4: You probably know that if you mix two colors together you can get a third color, right? Well did you know the first person to realize this was Pluto, the Greek philosopher?

5: The Aztecs really like red paint! The Aztecs loved red paint so much they actually regarded it as more valuable than gold itself!

6: Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel in the 1500s and it only took him four years to complete his masterpiece. Surprisingly, when it was restored in the 1900s it took 20 years to restore.

 7: In today’s world our phones are lit up and we can easily read any text at any time with the help of electronic lights and light bulbs, but in The Middle Ages it wasn’t that easy. People actually had to use precious stones and egg yolks to light up their writings.

 8: America was founded in 1776, but did you know that ‘The Color Wheel’ (you may remember it from school) was actually invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1706, 70 years before the birth of America.

So as you can see there are many things about paint that most people just don’t know and most of them are very interesting! Now look at that, you probably just learned 8 new things today. You should feel good, because as they say, “Knowledge is Power”, and indeed it is. So the next time you go to paint your house or your chair, just remember that there is more to paint then meets the eyes and it has a very vibrant history.

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Know Paint’s Your VOC Content?

Painting can be dangerous because of the paint fumes. The reason they are dangerous is because of the volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) found in the paint fumes. Knowing the VOC content of the paint that you use is important because you need to be sure you know how much to ventilate and also how important it is to not inhale the fumes if there are children or pregnant women around. But rest assured, because there are many things you can do to reduce your exposure to VOC greatly or even completely. So read on if you want to know more about VOC and why you should know about it because it might just be very beneficial to your overall health.

How to Avoid It

VOC content varies from company to company, but you can buy indoor or outdoor paint that has a low VOC content level or you can buy VOC free paint. Now if you buy VOC free paint that doesn’t mean that the fumes are completely harmless to inhale, it just means that it is a lot less harmful to inhale. Inhaling paint fumes is never recommended in any situation and honestly should be avoided as best as possible when you are painting. If you are seriously concerned about the paint fumes, you can always hire a professional house painter and you won’t be around the paint fumes or VOC at all.

 The Dangers

Knowing your VOC is very important to your health and the health of the people around you. VOC is released into the air around you as paint dries. Inhaling the fumes can lead to many negative immediate and long term side effects. Some of these side effects include, eye and respiratory irritation, dizziness, headaches, memory loss and one long term side effect is asthma.

Pregnancy

Pregnant women are very sensitive to VOC and should avoid it at all costs, because too much exposure to VOC for a prolonged time can result in a miscarriage or birth defects. Children should also avoid VOC because their bodies are still growing and inhaling too much paint fumes could result in an asthmatic child. Once someone develops asthma they usually have it for the rest of their lives, so if you have a child that is on the verge of being asthmatic you shouldn’t take the risk at all.

Ways to Minimize Paint Fume Exposure

There are many things that you can do to reduce your exposure to VOC. To reduce your risk of VOC exposure you should ventilate the area you are painting very well. You can achieve this by opening windows and doors and also keep fans going while you paint and also while the paint dries. If you really just don’t want to take the risk at all you can always hire a professional to paint for you. This option is not always needed because if you just ventilate the area well and wear a construction mask you should be okay because you won’t be inhaling very much VOC. You can also get paint that has very low VOC content or none at all.

Indoor Paint Choices

paint-117599_150Choosing the right indoor paint can be a tough decision. Not only are there so many options available, but there are also so many colors and hues to choose from. The whole process can be very daunting to the new painter, but rest assured, there are many things you can do to make the process go a lot smoother. Painting the inside of your home can be a very big project, but before you start anything you should really try and think hard and figure out exactly what you want to accomplish and what color paint you think will work best in your home. Now, if you are preparing to paint your interior for the sake of trying to sell your home, go with simple colors that will be easy to match with any kind of furniture and also make it a very eye-pleasing color as well.

When you go to choose a color for indoor painting there are many things you have to consider. The thing is a color may look great in the store but you could bring it home only to realize it doesn’t look good in the room you bought it for. This is why it’s great to take color samples and bring them home and see how they will look on your wall or door. Keep your mind open when you pick the colors that you want, because who knows, a color you overlook could have made your indoor that much better, so don’t overlook a color; compare.

Different color paints can either liven up a room or make it darker. Other colors can make a room seem bigger or smaller. With that in mind, you should realize picking a color is important; the right color paint can make or break a room. Don’t forget to prime before you paint either (Dark colors or walls you’ve never painted). You need to paint your wall with a primer prior to painting to ensure nothing bleeds through your new paint and will help you start from scratch, smoothing out your paint surface. Industrial painters usually opt for light colors as they maximise lighting potential and give a higher capacity to reflect light.

After you’ve picked out your primer and or paint colors, you will be ready to paint. Be sure you have the necessities, (tape to separate places you want to paint to places you don’t), Paint brushes, rags, and a step ladder (for the ceiling and high places). There may be more things you will need depending on the size of the paint job.

So as you can see, there are many factors when choosing the right color to paint your interior with. What color you choose is up to you, but remember to keep your mind open when choosing your colors. Remember to have all the things you need before you start painting and also remember to take out all your furniture in the room you are going to paint before you start painting. Follow the previous tips and you should end up with a great indoor paint job that you can’t wait to show off.

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How Harmful are Paint Fumes?

symbol-34338_150If you’ve ever painted or you need to do a little painting around your home, you’ve probably wondered how harmful paint fumes are. Well today you will learn just how harmful paint fumes are and how to reduce that risk. Paint fumes aren’t that harmful but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to help yourself when painting. The chemicals in paint vary from company to company, but mostly the only real danger is the paint fumes that come off the paint after painting. Inside the fumes are VOC which are volatile organic compounds that can cause you immediate harm, including: eye and respiratory irritation, dizziness, headaches, and even problems in your memory. As you can see inhaling paint fumes can be immediately damaging to your body so be sure to take the necessary precautions to ensure your health.

Minimise Exposure

There are many things you can do to decrease these negative effects of VOC. First off, be sure that the area you are painting is nicely ventilated and that the fumes are not just building up in the air you are breathing. While you can wear a paint mask, and definitely should, this won’t stop you from inhaling a little of the fumes, so be sure that there just isn’t much fumes in the air in general. You can do this by keeping the area you are painting very well ventilated by opening windows, having fans going, and also take breaks every so often. This should greatly help reduce the risk of some of the simple effects of breathing in paint fumes.

So just how harmful are paint fumes really?

Well, when some of the fumes were tested on animals, some of the animals developed cancer. Studies have also shown that long term exposure to paint fumes can also cause a more likely chance of developing asthma. If you are pregnant do not paint anything for any reason. Paint fumes are very harmful to the baby if you breathe them in while pregnant; doing this can cause miscarriage and other birth defects. Children should also avoid paint fumes as well as their bodies are still developing and the paint fumes can be very detrimental to their health.

Avoid It If You Can

You can always buy paint that has low VOC content or even VOC free. This will greatly reduce the risk of harmful effects to your body from inhaling paint fumes. This would be your best bet if you don’t want to take the risk of getting sick from inhaling in the fumes. Now just because there are negative effects, don’t let that drive you away from painting. As long as you are safe and ventilate the area well you should be okay.

In conclusion, paint fumes can be very dangerous to inhale, but mostly it’s pregnant women and children that should avoid paint fumes in general. Also, people who are already asthmatic or have problems breathing should also avoid paint fumes. You do have the option to buy VOC free paint, or low VOC content paint, this would be your best bet if you just plain don’t want to take any risk or you are sensitive to paint fumes.

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