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Dealing With Dust in Ceramics

Indoor air pollution of all types is considered one most important health hazards of our time. The dramatic rise in the incidence of Asthma is said to be one evidence of this. Ceramic arts, crafts, production and lab testing can generate a lot of dust if it is not managed properly. Ceramic educational programs are coming under increased scrutiny because of dust concerns. Most of the following suggestions will greatly reduce your exposure to dust, taken together they should make your workplace safe.

Red herrings and the real enemy

The main enemy is smaller silicosis-causing quartz particles in the minus 1 micron range. These are small enough to penetrate into and clog the air pockets in your lungs. These particles stay airborn for days.

Install or get

Habits to change:

Other Suggestions:

 

Success? Gauge your progress by turning out the lights and shining a strong flashlight across the room. Dust sensor are also available (check Amazon.com).


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Related Information

A practical dust collector you can make

An example of a custom-made dust collection hood in the material repackaging area of a supplier. The slots along the front suck particles into the duct, the suction comes from an exhaust fan downstream where the pipe exits the building. It has a wall switch and a sliding damper (where the hood enters the pipe) to enable stopping all airflow (to prevent heat loss in the room during cold days). Notice it is located above the scale and heat sealer where most dust is generated during weighing and packaging. Working in front of a system like this enables me to mix glaze recipes without breathing any dust at all.

A material storage rack

This material storage area employs a rack to keep pails off the floor so the area can be hosed down easily. The materials in each pail are sealed in plastic bags or the pail is covered with a lid.

Links

Materials Silica
Materials Ball Clay
Materials Quartz
Projects Hazards
Articles Recylcing Scrap Clay
Guidelines for collecting, reprocessing, testing and adjusting scrap recycle clay in a pottery or ceramics studio or production facility.

By Tony Hansen


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