Respirable Dust in the Workplace Linked to Lung Damage-October 2008

Monthly Round Up of Important Ideas and Standards in
Industrial Hygiene and Safety 

October 2008

IN THIS ISSUE: Respirable Dust in the Workplace Linked to Lung Damage

Dust, though not considered a hazardous material, can damage the lungs when inhaled in large quantities.  Dust particles are created during many industrial processes such as in manufacturing, mining and packaging. Respirable dust measures between 1 and 10 microns and because of its small size is potentially more harmful than normal particulate.

“Our nose and mouth are excellent dust filters because they keep most dust particles out of the lungs,” explains Gary R. Ticker, CIH, CSP, of OccuSafe, Inc, “But when workers breathe in large amounts of respirable dust, some very fine particles pass through the throat and into the lungs.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard for respirable dust limits exposure to 10 mg/m3 of air.  If testing shows that employee exposure is above the Permissible Exposure Level (PEL), affected workers must wear respirators and be included in a respiratory protection program.  In addition, employers must implement engineering or administrative controls to bring the exposure level below the PEL.

“If employees work in dusty areas, employers should be concerned about lung damage,” Ticker explains, “Respirators and ventilation are the best methods to protect workers’ respiratory health.”

For more information on this topic and to discuss your company’s safety and industrial hygiene needs call OccuSafe at (214) 662-6005 or visit us at

OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene and Safety provides skills and expertise to recognize, evaluate and control hazards and injuries in the areas of industrial hygiene, occupational safety and health.   OccuSafe services companies of all sizes in a range of industries.

This newsletter is published monthly by OccuSafe Industrial Hygiene & Safety.   Feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues.

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