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Construction dust

This is a general term used to describe different dusts that you may find on a construction site. There are three main types:

Silica dust – created when working on silicacontaining materials like concrete, mortar and sandstone (also known as respirable crystalline silica or RCS).

Wood dust – created when working on softwood, hardwood and wood-based products like MDF and plywood.

Lower toxicity dusts – created when working on materials containing very little or no silica. The most common include gypsum (eg in plasterboard), limestone and marble.

Health risks

Anyone who breathes in these dusts should know the damage they can do to the lungs and airways.The main dust-related diseases affecting construction workers are:

  • Lung cancer
  • Silicosis
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Asthma

Dust can build up in the lungs and harm them gradually over time. The effects are often not immediately obvious. Unfortunately, by the time it is noticed the total damage done may already be serious and life changing. It may mean permanent disability and early death.

coin-and-dustConstruction workers have a high risk of developing these diseases because many common construction tasks can create high dust levels. Over 500 construction workers are believed to die from exposure to silica dust every year. The amounts needed to cause this damage are not large. The largest amount of silica someone should be breathing in a day after using the right controls is shown here next to the penny

View the dust lamp video below..

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