This is why N95 masks and PPEs are necessary in construction sites, as well as industries that handle and process minerals that can cause dust.
In the Philippines, dolomite dust in particular has been deemed as safe by the Department of Health. This is mostly due to the fact that the particles are too large to be inhaled, and thus cannot irritate the lungs.
However, some studies have claimed the contrary. And despite being considered safe, there is very little information found regarding the long-term effects of dolomite.
What do other studies say?
When it comes to the risk and potential dolomite health hazards, what has science confirmed? One study focused on 39 respondents who were part of a team digging and excavating a dam. They were tested alongside 40 other team members who were not at all exposed to dolomite or dolomite dust.
They were interviewed and given a questionnaire to identify what possible effects dolomite exposure could have. In addition, they underwent chest X-rays, as well as tests to check their lung function.
The researchers found that about 50% of the dust that the workers were exposed to comprised of dolomite dust. And among the workers who were exposed to dolomite, symptoms of wheezing, coughing, and increased phlegm were very common.
The exposed subjects’ FEV1/FVC ratio, one of the parameters measured for lung function tests, was also very different compared to those who were not exposed. However, there were no problems found when the X-ray results were checked
Their results imply that while dolomite did not cause any significant harm, there was some evidence to show that it is not as non-toxic as it seems. It is possible that exposure to large amounts of dolomite dust can potentially cause long-term lung problems.
In addition, several safety sheets from building material companies advise precautions when handling dolomite.
They recommended that workers avoid inhaling dolomite dust directly. Another safety recommendation is to wash any exposed skin after handling dolomite dust.
But for dolomite sand, the safety sheets generally claim it as non-toxic and should pose no harm when touched or inhaled.
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