Aluminum Dust Collection

Reducing the Risk of Aluminum Dust Exposure

Aluminum is the most abundant metal on earth and widely used in both durable and consumer goods. The metal’s use in cars and airplanes is increasing, and its use in beverage containers and other food applications remains steady. In short, aluminum isn’t going anywhere, and manufacturers must continue to work with it in a safe way.

The average adult eats 7-9 mg of aluminum every day in his or her food, but the element is harmful when inhaled or when pure aluminum comes into contact with skin. For this reason, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued regulations to protect workers who handle aluminum and breathe its dust.

Exposure Risks for Aluminum Dust

While the most common physical problem associated with aluminum dust is physical irritation—primarily to the skin and eyes—more serious problems have been documented. Respiratory effects include impaired lung function and fibrosis. Long-term exposure can also produce signs of cholestasis, a liver disorder. When aluminum is present in weld fumes, exposure has been associated with neurological damage and motor dysfunction.

Another major risk of aluminum dust is explosion. Aluminum dust is one of the most dangerous of the combustible dusts. When present in the air in the right particulate size and in the right combination with oxygen, this particular dust is a serious ignition hazard. Aluminum dust explosions are rated in the most extreme category of all dust explosions.

Whether aluminum’s end use is in an airplane or an antiperspirant, its dust is a serious concern for manufacturers. Workers need protection from the inhalation hazard, and facilities must be safeguarded from explosions.

Regulations for Aluminum Dust

OSHA’s regulations for aluminum dust are serious but achievable. Their standard for total aluminum dust is 15 mg/m3, the same for general dust. Its standard for respirable aluminum dust, however, is a much more serious 5 mg/m3. For the record, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends limits of 15 mg/m3 and 10 mg/m3, respectively. Presently, OSHA shows no signs of adjusting its long-held standard.

As manufacturers know, failure to comply with these regulations is a serious matter. Citations can lead to fines that can pile up—sometimes reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Being cited can hurt a company’s ability to recruit and retain top talent, as well.

Solutions for Aluminum Dust

RoboVent understands every dust challenge and can address contaminants from the most toxic metals to nuisance dusts. Aluminum dust falls somewhere in between. A comprehensive system such as RoboVent’s Fusion Series would protect workers and also remove the threat of dust explosions. Our Delta3 Spark Arrestor system further protects facilities from fires and explosions, killing sparks before they can cause problems.

If a manufacturer needs a more limited solution, such as a dust collector for a grinding station, RoboVent has many options for that, as well. Our extensive line of portable collectors can be outfitted with hoods and arms to capture dust at its source. There is no better way to protect workers than by implementing powerful source capture of dusts and fumes.

Our engineers design dust collection system with efficiency and cost savings in mind. Systems are optimized to provide the right solution at the right price. As always, RoboVent backs up its work and products with the best guarantees in the business.