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Diseases caused by dust: the impact on our health

03/08/24 4 min reading time Fine dust & coarseHealth

Once inhaled, dust in the lungs poses significant health risks. Did you know it can lead to respiratory issues, allergies, and even lung cancer? In this blog, we’ll explore the diseases that can be caused by this secretly hazardous substance.

dust affects human health

People often dismiss health issues caused by environmental dust, saying things like

  • "It’s just dust."
  • "It’s just a bit of dirt in my nose."
  • "It’s just a little cough."
  • "It’s just a few days off work."

Fine dust, or particulate matter (PM), can cause serious health problems, yet it's often overlooked. At Zehnder Clean Air Solutions, we reject the idea that dust is 'just' dust. It's a complex issue that requires a new perspective.

Understanding the microcosm: What exactly is dust?

Before we talk about the diseases caused by dust, let's take a look at particulate matter. Dust is a mix of tiny particles like pollen or skin cells, bigger industrial bits like fine dust, fumes, oil, and mist, as well as textile fibres and cement that end up as visible dirt on surfaces.

The real trouble lies in the invisible 'fine' particles, which are smaller than 2.5 micrometres and known as PM2.5. These particles can easily penetrate deep into our lungs, causing health issues like respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and even premature death. It’s crucial to monitor and reduce exposure to PM2.5 to safeguard our health.

Airborne ambush: Diseases caused by dust

The variety of health hazards dust presents is as diverse as the particle matter itself. Here, we dissect the intricate web of diseases that are attributed to 'just' dust.

  • Respiratory issues
    Dust can be a major irritant, particularly for individuals with respiratory conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Once dust settles in our delicate airways and lungs, it can trigger symptoms that range from the infuriating (coughing, wheezing) to the alarming (chest tightness, shortness of breath).

  • Cardiovascular chaos
    Once we get dust in the lungs, it travels into the bloodstream, carrying its harmful impact with it. Research has associated these particles with higher chances of heart attacks, strokes, and hypertension. This is because dust particles can penetrate the body's pathways, disrupting the intricate rhythm of the heart.

  • The great lung impairment
    Long-term exposure to dust doesn't just disturb, it dismantles. Over an extended period, dust exposure can lead to decreased lung function, leaving people with reduced lung capacity and a compromised ability to breathe deeply.

  • Making things worse
    Getting dust in the lungs can exacerbate health problems for people with allergies or existing respiratory and heart conditions, triggering symptoms and causing discomfort.

  • Infection susceptibility
    When our immune system is busy combating dust-related assaults, it can be weakened. With defences down, we become more susceptible to respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

  • Children's health
    Because of their still-developing systems, children are particularly vulnerable. Dust can interfere with development, hampering lung growth and laying the groundwork for future respiratory problems.

  • Cancer as a caution
    While the evidence isn't conclusive, certain types of fine dust, like diesel exhaust particles, are suspected to raise the chance of cancer, particularly of the lungs.

  • Neurological impact
    Recent studies suggest that breathing in fine dust may lead to memory loss and raise the chances of diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. This shows that dust doesn’t just affect the lungs but can also harm the brain.

  • Pregnancy problems
    Dust particles have been detected in women’s uteruses, settling there after being inhaled into the lungs and entering the bloodstream. Exposure to dust during pregnancy has been associated with concerns such as low birth weight and premature delivery, posing potential health challenges for both the baby and the parent.

  • Mental health matters
    The impact of dust on mental health should not be underestimated. Particularly high levels of dust can cause stress, anxiety, and melancholy, contributing to feelings of depression. Dust can also disrupt our sleep patterns, inducing fatigue and even insomnia.

An offence worth defending against

We should never underestimate the impact of dust and the diseases caused by it on workplace health. It can make existing problems worse and cause serious harm to both workers and a company's profits. But don't worry, Zehnder Clean Air Solutions can stop these harmful particles from entering your employees' lungs.

We’re here to protect you from the effects of dust, with special technology that sets a new standard for air quality. Plus, our regular maintenance ensures a healthy workplace, making every breath worry-free.

A generational goal

The fight against diseases caused by dust isn’t just for you, it's for everyone who’ll enter your workspace for years to come. It’s a dedication to long-term health, the air we breathe, and the legacy of risk mitigation we leave behind. Dust particles might be small, but their impact is not. Poor air quality is a harsh reality that needs your attention now - before it leads to health problems at work.

Whether your motivation is just dust, a promise for cleaner air, or better health, Zehnder welcomes you. Let's move from doubt to clarity as we help you on your journey towards a cleaner, clearer future. Join us in spreading awareness about the diseases caused by dust.