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what is dust

Dust in the air – Indoor air pollution explained by the experts

Dust formation and definition

In simple terms, dust is a form of air pollution consisting of airborne particles that are often referred to as particulate matter (PM).

Indoor air pollution 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.

Dust in the air is a complex issue that needs expert attention. Let's solve your dust problem together.

Causes of dust in the air
  • Manufacturing processes, such as cutting, grinding and drilling
  • Wind and rain erosion, which create atmospheric dust
  • Industrial burning processes and traffic
  • Natural sources such as pollen, fungi and bacteria
clean air service particles potential danger

Tiny, invisible particles known as ultrafine particles and measuring less than 0.001 mm.


Bigger than PM1 and the most common type of indoor air pollution, 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.

Coarse particles

Particles such as sand or hair that are larger than, or equal to, 0.01 mm.

Black carbon

A mixture of particles produced by the inefficient burning of fossil fuels and biomass.

Total suspended particles

Total suspended particles: A catch-all term to describe particles of all sizes.

Dust in the air and the impact on your health

Here’s a good rule of thumb: The smaller the dust particle, the more potentially damaging it can be to your employees’ 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 a persons’s lungs into their bloodstream and damage many other organs.

Zehnder's air cleaning systems offer hundreds of different filter combinations to capture dangerous particles and reduce indoor pollution – get in touch today!

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