What are dust particles?
Dust is an extremely common form of air pollutant that gets created from many different activities and from many different sources. We are most used to seeing it building up annoyingly on the surfaces inside our homes. It is a never-ending battle it seems!
When we talk of pollutants, these apply to any substance that enters the environment with undesirable effects. Particles are minute substances, either liquid or solid that float in the atmosphere, often invisible to the naked eye.
So, where does it come from?
Dust can come from many different places. Natural sources include sand, soil and rock erosion and also plant, pollen, dander and microscopic organisms. Artificially made dust is created in urban areas from gardening, industrial processes and traffic. Protect your working environment with effective dust collecting equipment and keep harmful dust and vapours out of the air with Spray Booth Filters from www.dustspares.co.uk/spray-booth-filters
The size of dust particles can vary but most are invisible. Did you know that the smaller the particle, the longer it can remain in the air and the more distance it can travel? Bigger particles cannot travel far as their weight forces them to fall to the ground close to where they are formed. These are the particles you can see, such as dust on furniture and vehicles.
Bigger particles, although easily breathed in, tend to be quickly breathed out, stick in the nose or swallowed, which is fairly harmless. Invisible particles, however, are much more likely to be breathed deeply into the lungs and absorbed directly into the blood.
So, what are the effects on health?
This depends greatly on the size and type of dust particle. This determines how toxic the dust is likely to be to human health. The level of harm that can be inflicted though, is dependent on how much is present in the air you’re breathing and how long you’ve been breathing it.
Irritations caused by inhaling dust can include:
For those suffering with respiratory problems, just a small increase in dust in the atmosphere can make their symptoms worse. Whilst there is no current solid link between dust and asthma, it is thought that breathing in dust over long periods of time does reduce lung function. Industrial emissions close to urban areas must continue to be carefully controlled to prevent damage to health.
Who is at the most risk?
People exposed to high levels of dust regularly are at the highest risk. The longer the time spent breathing it in, the higher the chance of suffering health problems as a result. This doesn’t apply to low levels of household dust but definitely applies in industrial and construction environments.
Those who already suffer from heart and respiratory conditions and those who smoke are more likely to develop problems with their health over the long term. This also applies to infants, young children and the elderly.