The Health Impact of On-Site Dust Collectors

Certain sectors of the industrial workforce produce large amounts of dust and other particulates. Understanding how dust affects human health is vital to keeping employees and the surrounding community healthy and comfortable, yet many people don’t understand the long-term repercussions of particulate matter (PM). Repeat exposure to dust has a number of health risks, but to mitigate these issues, companies use dust collectors.

Dust collectors are filtration devices that remove particulate from a flowing air stream. They improve air quality, eliminate potential fire hazards, and keep dust from negatively affecting the product quality and producing a musty odor. When companies use a filtration device, they also prevent dust from accumulating on machinery, which helps the equipment operate efficiently.

Industries that commonly utilize dust collectors include:

  • Pharmaceutical
  • Chemical Processing
  • Petrochemical
  • Metal/Woodworking
  • Food/Agriculture

What Are Some Adverse Health Impacts of Dust?

Dust particles with diameters of 10 micrometers or less are easy to inhale. At this small size, particles infiltrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream, which could cause a broad range of symptoms.

The short-term effects of dust inhalation can include:

  • Irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing

Serious long-term impacts of dust inhalation can include:

  • Decreased lung function
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart disease

Dust in the workplace significantly impacts employees and could become dangerous or even fatal over time. It’s tied to more sick day requests and lost productivity.

Studies show it also affects the world at large. Fine dust particulates contribute to air pollution and reduce the air quality for everyone in the vicinity. They can travel through HVAC systems and seep into nearby homes and businesses, even when their doors and windows are closed. In areas with high PM levels, children are more likely to experience developmental delays or impairments and chronic illness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

How Can Dust Collectors Mitigate These Risks?

Regulating bodies such as OSHA and NFPA produce guidelines to protect the community and employees from dust inhalation. The industrial workforce use specially designed dust collector equipment to comply with these regulations and keep people safe.

It’s challenging to filter out fine pieces of dust and debris, but engineering advancements make it possible to remove particulates as small as 0.1 micrometers. These state-of-the-art systems use polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membranes, which reduce the pore size of the filter material to allow for more effective diffusion.

Dust Collectors From U.S. Air Filtration

At U.S. Air Filtration, we offer three dust collectors:

  • Baghouse: Our largest dust collector, the baghouse can withstand high temperatures and significant amounts of dust. It’s best suited for the automotive, foundry, mining, and wood industries.
  • Cartridge Collector: A cartridge collector is compact and ideal for collecting under 55 gallons of particulate per day. It allows you to easily expand if you require, and is most often found in the paint booth, welding, steel fabrication, and bulk powder processing industries.
  • Bin Vent: Compact and modular, bin vents are easy to move around and change out. They are particularly well-suited to venting silos and tanks, and are often utilized in the conveyor belt, agriculture, tank loading, and cement industries.

When choosing a dust collector, facility size and volume of dust are two major factors to consider. For high volumes of particulate filtration, a large system will be necessary. Smaller facilities may prefer a compact collector that are portable and can be scaled up.

At U.S. Air Filtration, we have over 50 years of experience designing high-quality dust collection solutions. To learn more about creating a healthy work environment with dust containment systems, download a Dust Collector Purchasing Guide today. You can also contact us or request a quote for assistance choosing the best dust collector for your facility.

1 Comment

  1. Levi Armstrong

    It’s alarming to know that long-term dust inhalation in factories can cause lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, and heart disease. That is why it is important to have an on-site air filtration system so the workers are protected from getting sick, which would increase the factory’s productivity. My dad is part of the industrial workforce, and he already has reduced lung function because of his chain-smoking days. Hopefully, his company has a filtration device installed so the air quality he’s breathing every day at work will not expose him to health risks. Thanks for this information!

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