Most of us go about our daily lives without ever having to (or wanting to) think about the dangers of dust.
What we do know is that dust is everywhere and if regularly cleaned is very unlikely to cause us any harm.
The dictionary definition of dust is a: fine, dry powder consisting of tiny particles of earth or waste matter lying on the ground or on surfaces or carried in the air.
However, dust can also be a harmful substance and can cause health issues.
In the workplace, most builders are faced with the dangers of dust on a daily basis. After builders cleaning helps eliminate the threat from dust on the construction site, as does wearing the correct protective equipment.
Let us look at some of the most common substances found in dust that collects in our homes and workplaces.
About half of all the dust in our homes is soil that has found its way into our homes through our feet or carried in through the air. However it is the other half that is cause for worry. So what does this consist of?
Dust is commonly found in:
- Dead Human Skin Cells (Yes, we are shedding them regularly)
- Cleaning Chemicals
- Toxins from Cigarette Smoke
- Asbestos Particles
- Polychlorinated Biphenyls
- Bacteria and Viruses
- Insect parts (dust mites)
- Spores from Mould
As we can see, many of these materials can be extremely harmful. Especially because they are present in such small particles this means that they can be directly inhaled. And sometimes they are so fine that they can evade even the defence mechanism of the body and enter our lungs.
So what harm can they do?
Well, the most common effect of these particles is – allergies. Most of these materials can cause some severe reactions in the body…..
And the worst part is – the people who are most susceptible to these allergies are also the most vulnerable – young babies and toddlers.
They tend to be 100 times more at risk than us adults. Sometimes prolonged exposure can also lead to respiratory problems and even asthma.
If only this was all.
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes the particles are so fine that they can manage to evade the natural defences of the body. In that case, dust collects in the lungs. When this happens, these harmful substances can cause serious injury to the lung tissues. This could lead to conditions like fibrosis (lung scarring), silicosis (scarring due to silica deposits and pneumoconiosis (dusty lungs).
But do the dangers of not regularly cleaning dust end there?
No. Harmful chemicals and toxins present in lungs can then find their way into the blood stream and from there to the rest of the body causing dangerous maladies and even cancer.
In conclusion limit your exposure to dusty environments and regularly clean your home to prevent dust building up.