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The dangerous diseases caused by dust inhalation

03/08/24 5 min reading time Fine dust & coarseHealth

Did you know there are a number of serious diseases caused by dust inhalation? These include respiratory issues, allergies, and even certain types of cancer. This article will give you a deeper understanding of how dust inhalation causes health problems and what you can do about it.

dust affects human health

Folks can be very dismissive of dust. They might say things like: 

  • "It’s just dust."
  • "I accidentally breathed in a bit of dust."
  • "I've got an annoying cough, but it's no big deal."
  • "I only need a few days off work to recover."

But the reality is fine dust, known as particulate matter (PM), can lead to very serious issues that should not be overlooked. Zehnder Clean Air Solutions knows that though dust particles are small, they pose a big threat. We believe dust is a health risk that warrants a lot more attention. 

Deep dive on dust: What exactly is it?

Before we can get into the diseases caused by dust inhalation, it's important to understand exactly what we mean by "dust." This term refers to any mix of tiny particles. Dust is often comprised of pollen and shredded skin cells, but a lot of dust is created through industrial processes. Fine dust, fumes, cement, textile fibers, and oil mist are all types of dust that can travel through the air or collect on surfaces. 

When it comes to diseases caused by dust inhalation, the biggest threat comes from "fine particles," which are smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5). When breathed in, these tiny particles can penetrate deep into the lungs. This is what causes respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and in some cases, lethal illness.

Businesses must monitor the amount of PM2.5 in the air and ensure no one in the workplace is overexposed. 

The most dangerous diseases caused by dust inhalation

We know dust comes in all shapes and sizes, and the diseases caused by dust inhalation are just as varied. Below, we've laid out the many serious health consequences of what some still call "just dust."

  • Respiratory risk
    Dust will exacerbate issues like bronchitis, asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). For those who already suffer from these issues, dust may increase symptoms like frustrating coughing and wheezing, or far more serious, chest tightness and difficulty breathing. 

  • Heart health on the line 
    Dust travels into the bloodstream once it's breathed in, and from there, it can wreak havoc on our cardiovascular system by disrupting the natural rhythm of the heart. Studies have shown that exposure to certain particles can increase the risk of an array of health problems, including heart attacks, strokes, and hypertension.

  • Reduced lung capacity 
    Have you ever felt like you can't take a deep, full breath? It's an incredibly uncomfortable feeling, but one that's common for those who have long-term exposure to dust. Dust in the lungs decreases their ability to breathe deeply, ultimately decreasing lung function.

  • Existing conditions get worse and worse
    With dust in your lungs, you can expect any current health conditions to worsen. Allergies, other respiratory illnesses, or heart conditions can all be exacerbated by long-term exposure to fine dust. 

  • Greater risk of infection
    Breathing in dust regularly puts your immune system into constant fight mode. But this means it won't be able to protect you from infection as well as it should, putting you at greater risk of illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis.

  • Children's illnesses 
    Children are still developing their immune systems, which means they are even more vulnerable to dust than most. Dust inhalation can interfere with lung growth, which could lead to a lifetime of respiratory illness. 

  • Potential for cancer 
    Though there is still research to be done, there is reason to believe certain types of fine dust, like diesel exhaust, could increase the risk of lung cancer. 

  • Neurological issues 
    In recent years, studies have come out suggesting Alzheimer's and Parkinson's may be on the list of diseases caused by dust. Breathing in particulate matter doesn't just harm our lungs, but also our brains.

  • Pregnancy issues
    If exposed to dust during pregnancy, women put themselves and their babies at risk of serious health concerns, including low birth weight and premature delivery. This occurs when dust makes it into the bloodstream through the lungs and ends up in a woman's uterus. 

  • Mental health impact
    Long-term exposure to dust, or high levels of dust, can lead to mental health problems, including anxiety, stress, and depression. Breathing in dust can also cause sleep issues, leading to fatigue, and in extreme cases, insomnia.

Protecting ourselves from the dangers of dust

When you take a moment to consider all of the different diseases caused by dust inhalation, it doesn't seem like such a tiny problem anymore. Dust exposure not only leads to serious illnesses, but it also can impact entire businesses, taking their best staff out of work at crucial moments, driving up cleaning and maintenance bills, or damaging their business reputation. 

Don't despair – Zehnder Clean Air Solutions is here to remove dust particles from the air, before they can harm you, your employees, or your business. Our cutting-edge industrial air purifiers set the standard for breathable air, and our systems are customized for your clean air needs. 

With the right air purifier, everyone at your business can breathe easy knowing they will never have to suffer from a disease caused by dust inhalation. 

Dealing with dust now and into the future

Join Zehnder in the long-term fight against the diseases caused by dust inhalation. We're committed to improving health worldwide by bringing clean, fresh air to our global clients. We're driven to leave a legacy for future generations, one free of these harmful illnesses and all the risks that dust inhalation brings. 

Don't wait until your "small dust problem" becomes a serious threat to the health of your workers and your business itself. We're here to help you take action today and guide your workplace to a brighter, cleaner future. We thank you for joining the fight to spread the word about the dangerous diseases caused by dust.