In simple terms, dust is a form of air pollution consisting of airborne particles that are often referred to as particulate matter (PM).
Dust in industrial workplaces can occur naturally – as pollen, for example – or from human activity, including manufacturing, construction, farming and quarrying. Particulate matter comes in different sizes, some of which is invisible to the naked eye.
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Tiny, invisible particles known as ultrafine particles and measuring less than 0.001 mm.
Bigger than PM1 and the most common type of dust, often described as fine particles or alveolar dust. Measuring less than 0.0025 mm.
Much larger particles but still measuring less than 0.01 mm, these can be seen with the naked eye.
Particles such as sand or hair that are larger than, or equal to, 0.01 mm.
A mixture of particles produced by the inefficient burning of fossil fuels and biomass.
Total suspended particles: A catch-all term to describe particles of all sizes.
A good rule of thumb is the smaller the dust particle, the more potentially damaging it can be to your health. Regular exposure to fine and ultrafine particles (PM2.5 or smaller) can cause significant health problems. PM1 particles are so small they can move from your lungs into your bloodstream and damage many other organs.
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