What Does Dust Do to Your Lungs? How Dust Inhalation Impacts Your Staff at Work

What Does Dust Do to Your Lungs? How Dust Inhalation Impacts Your Staff at Work

There are so many ways dust inhalation impact on our behavioural changes, in addition to the numerous health problems they can trigger. Dust is the combination of tiny and airborne particles that are produced when materials are cut, sanded, demolished, shovelled or drilled. The number of activities being carried out within the workplace is sources of dust particles. Even the paper files, cleaning of office furniture, and the carpets can also release dust into the atmosphere. Dust inhalation can impact staff at work in the following ways;

Metallic dust can cause a toxic effect on the body system

Metallic dust is found even in workplaces that are regarded as clean. These types of dust can cause some systemic toxic effects when they are inhaled because they will eventually find their way into the bloodstream. The commonest sources of metallic dust inhaled in offices are lead, cadmium, zinc, and Manganese. Lead is the leading cause of metallic intoxication in the body. The persistence inhalation of lead can lead to damage to the central nervous system. The inhalation of metallic dust such as lead can reduce the productivity of staffs because it causes depletion of Oxygen being transported to the brain in the bloodstream. When there is a low supply of Oxygen to the brain, a staff may develop brain fog, which can cause throbbing pain and may have to slow down the pace of their work. You can check for more useful info on these types of toxic metallic dust on this website.

Organic and inorganic dust including wood particles can cause allergic reactions

One of the commonest sources of an allergic reaction within office space is the organic and inorganic dust such as those generated from wood, sand, leaves and many other ground materials. These materials can cause hypersensitivity and allergic reactions that can cause symptoms such as wheezing, migraine, watery eyes and fatigue. Symptoms of allergic reactions caused by inhaling organic and inorganic materials can reduce productivity by as much as 60% and in most cases, sufferers may have to leave their office to gain fresh air or even call in for sick leave.

Micro-organisms such as spores from the mold can cause bacteria, viral and fungi infections

Micro-organisms can thrive in an office environment that is constantly wet or moisty. Offices equipped with wet carpets or rugs are the main sources of mold and other microbial spores. A contact with a wet surface can cause the release of these spores into the air and that makes it easy for staff to inhale the spores through the nose or mouth. It is important to replace office carpets with hard surfaces such as concrete, wood, tiles and so on. When staffs accidentally pour coffee or water on office carpets, they are creating an enabling environment for microbial particles to thrive. Microbial particles can trigger certain infections that will require medications, and that can cause staff to feel tired, and sleepy which will reduce efficiency and make them prone to mistakes on regular basis.

Asbestos and Crystalline silica can cause lung scarring

Offices that have asbestos components can be a source of asbestos dust and microparticles. Many years of exposure to asbestos and crystalline silica can cause lung scarring- a disease that will only become noticeable after several years. The onset of lung scarring can be identified by persistent breathing problems, especially when the office area is always sealed off with no ventilation. Items such as Chromates and quartz particles can also lead to cancer, when not detected and prevented on time.

Acid and alkali dust can cause the irritation of mucous membranes

Acid and alkali dust is more rampant in scientific research offices. When bottles and other containers of acids and alkali are left opened for prolonged periods of times, they may become volatiles, especially when temperature changes and some of their particles are released into the office area. The release of acidic and alkali particles will cause the irritation of the mucous membrane of the nose and throat and that can lead to running nose, blood coming out of the nose, and constant headaches. Individuals who suffer from breathing problems after inhaling acidic or alkali substances may also become more sensitive to chemical smell.

Flammable chemical substances can increase fire hazards

Higher concentration of chemicals in the atmosphere can increase fire hazards. Inflammable substances such as oils can trigger fire accidents when they are in higher concentrations in the atmosphere. Inhaling oil particles can also cause irritation of the mucous membrane, creating symptoms similar to sinusitis.

Other impacts of dust inhalation

High concentration of dust in the office environment can lead to several other negative impacts. For instance, higher concentrations of dust in the atmosphere will reduce visibility and that could cause serious safety hazards to the staffs and the entire office building. In addition to inhaling dust, these toxic substances can also enter the body through eye and skin contacts. Dust contacts with the eye and skin can equally cause irritation, dermatitis, and ulceration of the skin. Swallowing dust unknowingly can cause the dust to enter through the digestive tract which can lead to irritation of the gastrointestinal tract and can be transported through the bloodstream where they can reach vital organs.


The extent of the effect of breathing in dust from the office environment can be caused by a number of factors, these include; the size of the dust particles, the biochemical composition of the dusts, the concentration of the dust in the breathing area of the office space, and how frequent or often the staff use the office space. Since most hazardous dust is not visible, they can be easily deposited in the nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract. The smallest dust particles that can measure about 0.3mm in diameter, can further travel and settle in the lungs. Carrying out the evaluation of the number of dust in the atmosphere is the first step towards eliminating or drastically reduce the possibility of these irritants from reach the lungs and the bloodstream.


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