Health Effects of Dust in Business

Published On May 15, 2019 | By Franklin Benny | Business

Dust exposure is associated with a number of health problems. Whether it is in a construction site or manufacturing facility, among other settings, dust management is important to avoid health hazards. In the rest of this article, we’ll break down the health effects of dust exposure.

To prevent the health problems that are listed below, businesses need to take advantage of innovative approaches for dust control, such as through the products available at Bosstek.

Silicosis

Breathing dust can cause significant lung damage, and one of the most serious is silicosis. According to the American Lung Association, silicosis is a lung disease caused by the inhalation of silica, a mineral in sand and rock. It scars the lungs, which impairs breathing. Silicosis can be acute, chronic, or accelerated. Silicosis has no cure, but it can be prevented.  The symptoms can appear just a few weeks after the exposure or even after several years. One of the most common symptoms is coughing. Fever, sharp chest pains, difficulty breathing, wheezing, leg swelling, and lip discoloration are other common problems.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Like silicosis, COPD is also caused by exposure to silica dust. Most of the people who suffer from this problem are those who work in mining, sandblasting, and glass manufacturing. According to Mayo Clinic, COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease. The symptoms don’t easily become visible unless there is already significant damage to the lungs. The most common symptoms are mucus production, wheezing, cough, and difficulty breathing. Unlike silicosis, COPD is treatable. The treatment options include oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation program.

Lung Cancer

High levels and prolonged dust exposure in the workplace can also lead to lung cancer. It causes the abnormal growth of cancer cells in one or two lungs. Its growth transforms the abnormal cells into tumors and prevents the lungs from functioning normally. Typically, there are no symptoms of lung cancer when it is at an early stage. Once it is already advanced, some of the common signs include bone pain, headache, shortness of breath, coughing of blood, and losing weight.

Eye and Skin Irritation

Exposure to dust can irritate the skin and the eyes, it can result in allergic reactions. Some of the symptoms that are present include runny nose, headache, watery eyes, itchiness, redness, and swelling, among others. Often, the workers are given personal protective equipment like goggles and suits to protect the eyes and the skin from the harmful effects of dust. Dust control systems also minimize the likelihood of exposure to dust that can cause irritation. It may not be as serious as the problems mentioned above, but it is equally important for businesses to address as it can affect the health and productivity of the workers.

Dust particles are tiny, almost invisible to the human eye. From as simple as skin irritation to a condition as serious as lung cancer, dust exposure can be a significant health risk despite its size.

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