Chemical Dust Collection and Filtration

Control the Risk of Chemical Dust Exposure

As all manufacturers of chemicals know, chemical production carries serious risks. Among these risks are threats to health, safety and property. Chemicals vary widely in their toxicity and potential for physical harm, but controlling exposure to them in the workplace is a widely accepted priority. The potential for fire and explosion for chemicals is significant, as well, and requires serious effort to mitigate these dangers.

Any accumulation of dust in the workplace is a problem—due to the harmful effects of even nuisance dust in high exposures—but chemical dusts carry special dangers. Many have high concentrations of metallic elements which are toxic in the body at certain concentrations. Other chemical dusts can react badly with body tissues or cause harm simply from accumulation.

Exposure Risks for Chemical Dust

Exposure Risks for Chemical Dust

Employees who work with chemical dusts are at risk from negative health effects, as well as fire and explosion. Chemical dusts are often very fine, and the smaller the particulate the more deeply it can travel into the body and do damage. Exposure to metallic elements, such as cadmium, can cause neurological, gastrointestinal and reproductive harm. Cadmium can affect the kidneys and respiratory system even in a low concentration. At higher exposures, cadmium is associated with cancers of the lung and prostrate. This is simply one example, however. Researchers have linked many chemical dusts to health damage, including arsenic, chromium and lead.

Even inert substances such as silica can cause harm. If exposure to such a substances reaches a certain level, particulates can accumulate in the lungs. Symptoms begin with irritation and shortness of breath but can move to serious respiratory illnesses.

Many chemical dusts also qualify as combustible dusts. These dusts pose serious fire and explosion risks. When a combustible dust gathers in just the right concentration with oxygen, it can be ignited by a spark, cigarette, hot wheel bearing or any number of ignition sources. Chemicals that are also combustible dusts include ascorbic acid, calcium acetate, dextrin, lactose and sodium ascorbate. A dust explosion can be surprisingly powerful, injuring or killing workers and destroying property.

RoboVent_Regulations_circle

Dust Collection Regulations for Chemical Manufacturers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates that employers maintain safe workplaces for employees. Chemical dusts are particularly challenging for employers in the industry because different chemicals are governed by different regulations. Most OSHA rules are based on permissible exposure limits (PEL’s), which are 8-hour time-weighted averages (TWA’s). OSHA has established around 500 PEL’s.

OSHA recommends that workplace air quality be maintained through “engineering and work practice controls,” where feasible. If these controls are not feasible, OSHA requires that workers be given personal respiratory equipment. Installing high-quality air filtration ensures that your entire facility remains safe when chemical dusts are present. Filters exist to remove the worst particulates from the air. Properly applied, a dust collector can clean the air sufficiently to meet any OSHA regulation. Below are some examples of the PEL’s for various chemical dusts.

  • Cadmium: 5 µg/m3
  • Zinc oxide: 15 mg/m3
  • Chromium: 5 µg/m3
  • Iron oxide: 15 mg/m3
  • Cobalt: 1 mg/m3

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) recommends different guidelines on some of these exposure limits. This is not surprising, since ACGIH guidelines are generally stricter than OSHA’s. Many leading manufacturers, however, strive to meet ACGIH guidelines in order to protect their workers and lead their industries in worker safety.

Understanding the content of your airborne contaminants is key in improving your air quality and in meeting OSHA regulations. Services providing comprehensive chemical testing of your air quality are an important investment in worker safety. Failure to meet OSHA regulations can lead to serious fines and other legal problems.

Industrial Dust Collectors and Portable Collection Systems

While chemical dusts are more dangerous than many other dusts, the basic act of filtering these dusts and improving air quality is similar to other methods. RoboVent has extensive experience in mitigating chemical dusts. Our source capture solutions can collect dangerous dusts at their source, while our ambient capture solutions work to clean the air of an entire facility. Either of these solutions from RoboVent—or a combination of the two—would ensure that an employer is protecting its workers and complying with even the most stringent of regulations.

Dust Collector Configurations

Traditional Configuration

The traditional configuration maximizes performance with ductwork sized for optimal airflow for your specific applications.

Industrial Clean Air Services

VentMapping® Engineering

VentMapping is a systematic engineering and design service. Our comprehensive approach helps us find the safest, most effective and most efficient way to meet your goals.

RoboVent Maintenance Program, Clean Air and Industrial Air Filtration Solutions

ClientCare Maintenance Program

ClientCare lets you leverage RoboVent's expertise so you can reduce the burden on your maintenance staff and stay focused on your core business.

Chemical Dust Collectors

Fusion™ Series

A dust collector on the cutting edge of air filtration. The Fusion Series delivers exceptional performance and cost savings in a powerful, simple package.

Chemical Dust Filters

Endurex RMO Cartridge Filters, Dust & Fume Air Filters

Endurex RMO Cartridge Filters

RoboVent's premium filter engineered to provide the best filtration protection for your plant and employees. A widened pleat and proprietary filter media help deliver top performance.