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  1. #1
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    Default Health effects on seniors from short term exposure to fine dust.

    Some new research findings in the British medical journal.
    Most folks think that fine dust only really affects lungs.
    Time to think again folks - especially ion you are a senior

    The target group were some 95 million US patients aged 65 or older, admitted to hospital from 2000 to 2012.

    New causes and previously identified causes of hospital admission [for a wide variety of diseases and condistions] associated with short term exposure to PM2.5 were found. These associations remained even at a daily PM2.5 concentration below the WHO 24 hour guideline. Substantial economic costs were linked to a small increase in short term PM2.5.
    and Conclusion summary
    Results Positive associations between short term exposure to PM2.5 and risk of hospital admission were found for several prevalent but rarely studied diseases, such as septicemia, fluid and electrolyte disorders, and acute and unspecified renal failure.

    Positive associations were also found between risk of hospital admission and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, Parkinsons disease, diabetes, phlebitis, thrombophlebitis, and thromboembolism, confirming previously published results. These associations remained consistent when restricted to days with a daily PM
    2.5 concentration below the WHO air quality guideline for the 24 hour average exposure to PM2.5.

    For the rarely studied diseases, each 1 g/m
    3 increase in short term PM2.5 was associated with an annual increase of 2050 hospital admissions , 12 216 days in hospital , costing US$31m in inpatient and post-acute care costs, and $2.5bn in value of statistical life.

    For diseases with a previously known association, each 1 g/m
    3 increase in short term exposure to PM2.5 was associated with an annual increase of 3642 hospital admissions, 20 098 days in hospital , $69m in inpatient and post-acute care costs, and $4.1bn in then value of statistical life.

    Full article at Short term exposure to fine particulate matter and hospital admission risks and costs in the Medicare population: time stratified, case crossover study | The BMJ

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  3. #2
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    "Particulate matter (PM) is a mixture of solid and liquid particles with aerodynamic diameter smaller than 2.5 m (PM2.5) and between 2.5 and 10 m (PM10-2.5), respectively known as fine and coarse particles. PM2.5 particles are smaller than PM10-2.5 particles but have a larger surface area to volume ratio. Thus PM2.5 can carry more toxic pollutants and pass through the lung into the bloodstream."

    Thanks Bob but it is admittedly way over my head. The thing that struck me was the start of the introduction (quote above) where they classify 2.5 as small and 2.5 to 10 as coarse particles. It is pretty hard to get woodworkers to even begin to recognize dust anywhere near that small as something to be considered at all. Most only think of fine dust as the powder from sanding and coarse as planer shavings. Woodworkers have a long way to go.

    Pete





  4. #3
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    That study was reported in the Sydney papers a few days ago, probably because the bushfire haze has sent the PM2.5 index soaring. It's a totally convincing correlation and sets you wondering about the causal factors because many of the presentations appear on the surface to be un-related to respiratory dysfunction.

    A few months ago one of my medical mates provided a few words of warning about the cumulative effects of airborne particulate matter which prompted me to upgrade my woeful dust extraction equipment. I wonder how effective surgical masks are. Not good enough, I suspect.

    mick

  5. #4
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    I agree the article is pretty complicated.

    What the article really points to is that even short term low PM2.5 exposures can cause problems for seniors .

    The CURRENT WHO recommended exposure limits ARE 10 microgram/m3 annual average, and 25 microgram/m3 over 24 hours while their PM10 recommendations are 20 microgram/m3 annual average, and 50 microgram/m3, for 24 hours.

    What we don't know is how "short" is meant by "short term exposure"

    The average PM2.5 levels I typically I measure in mens sheds are indeed less than 10 microgram/m3 and for PM10 are less than 50 microgram/m3 .
    But these levels (especially the PM2.5) are exceeded many dozens of times each week for periods from 1 to 30 minutes. I will work out what the actual averages WIGRTI.
    In our shed (with ClearVue cyclone) I have correlated these higher levels with issues like; failure to turn on the DC or relevant blast gate, blowing down dust from machinery with a compressor and use of some power tools like routers without any dust extraction.

    The article also suggests the still current 60 year old OHS levels for (especially senior) wood workers may be far less than adequate. These are based on PM30, of 5 mg/m3 for softwoods and 1 mg/m3 for hardwoods and 0.5 mg/m3 forWRC and MDF.

    Perhaps we should concern ourselves less with PM30 and PM10 and more with PM2.5?

  6. #5
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    There’s an old saying about taking care of the pennies because the pounds will take care of themselves.

    Surely this is the case here as if you are capturing PM 2.5 you would also be capturing PM 10 and 30.

  7. #6
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    Yep - when they're burning off in the Perth Hills (30km away) I can measure PM10 levels as high as 500 microgram/m3 and it you are nearer the fire or the fire is large the levels can easily go way over this.
    Cooking a roast in the kitchen oven generates up to 200 microgram/m3 and it takes many hours to come back down again.
    BBQ produce similar levels but these are usually outside.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glider View Post
    A few months ago one of my medical mates provided a few words of warning about the cumulative effects of airborne particulate matter which prompted me to upgrade my woeful dust extraction equipment. I wonder how effective surgical masks are. Not good enough, I suspect.
    I always thought surgical masks were designed to stop droplets from a surgeon's or assistants mouth from contaminating a patient and are not that good at the reverse.
    Some masks are problematic especially for PM2.5 as the particles are small enough to act like a gas so they will easily pass though any small leak. However when you have no other option they are better than nothing.

    Yesterday I finished the cleanup of my deceased FIL's 60 year old asbestos shed, In parts it was ankle deep in crumbled Norfolk Island Pine needles, sawdust (he was a furniture restorer) and other detritus including probably lots of asbestos dust as I know he used to cut up asbestos in the shed. There were lots more built in chipboard shelves around the shed and the fine sawdust was in places about 1cm thick on these sheds. With these shelves we swept the dust directly into bags during the afternoon with a stiff sea breeze whistling though the shed for ventilation.

    From the floor alone 10 large green garbage bags of stuff went to the tip along with several dozen plastic wrapped offcuts of asbestos. We had already taken 4 van loads and two ute loads of crap from the shed to the tip.

    EmptyShed.JPG
    Cleanup.jpegc

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    I agree the article is pretty complicated.

    What the article really points to is that even short term low PM2.5 exposures can cause problems for seniors .

    The CURRENT WHO recommended exposure limits ARE 10 microgram/m3 annual average, and 25 microgram/m3 over 24 hours while their PM10 recommendations are 20 microgram/m3 annual average, and 50 microgram/m3, for 24 hours.

    What we don't know is how "short" is meant by "short term exposure"

    The average PM2.5 levels I typically I measure in mens sheds are indeed less than 10 microgram/m3 and for PM10 are less than 50 microgram/m3 .
    But these levels (especially the PM2.5) are exceeded many dozens of times each week for periods from 1 to 30 minutes. I will work out what the actual averages WIGRTI.
    In our shed (with ClearVue cyclone) I have correlated these higher levels with issues like; failure to turn on the DC or relevant blast gate, blowing down dust from machinery with a compressor and use of some power tools like routers without any dust extraction.

    The article also suggests the still current 60 year old OHS levels for (especially senior) wood workers may be far less than adequate. These are based on PM30, of 5 mg/m3 for softwoods and 1 mg/m3 for hardwoods and 0.5 mg/m3 forWRC and MDF.

    Perhaps we should concern ourselves less with PM30 and PM10 and more with PM2.5?
    The cumulative nature of dust in the lungs suggests that ANY exposure can affect health. Like all toxins, it's a function of dosage but because genetic markers can and do intervene, no one is willing to specify a safe level above zero. Asbestos is a good example. The old OHS levels are huge compared to WHO standards.

    mick

  9. #8
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    It turns out that fine dust pathways into the body is not just lungs but stomach, eyes and even (especially clean) skin.

    BTW Latest PM2.5 in my home office is <0.1 g/m3, PM 10 is 0.7 g/m3
    The numbers jump around a bit, eg PM10 has ranged between <0.1 and 1.9 g/m3during the last few minutes.

  10. #9
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    With the bushfires up here SE QLD, we were spared the smoke pollution that Brisbane suffered, however I noticed something different on a few of our early morning walks. After about 15 minutes into our walk, I felt as though I wasn't getting the normal amount of air into my lungs. I checked the PM2.5 levels and they were in the RED, I have various display screens and this is the simplest one I look at as it shows PM10 and PM2.5 on two big dials with the current WHO values above short term PM2.5 / 10 starting in the RED zones, normally we sit at the bottom of the GREEN scale. I should have look at the numbers but I wasn't interested in them at that time, just a confirmation of the reason for the effect on breathing.

    Thing is, there was hardly any smoke smell and the early morning sky was relatively clear, doesn't take much.

    As BobL mentioned, I feel the so called health experts are only now starting to heed the warnings on how insidious the pathways into the blood stream and organs really are. Fortunately it was only smoke and not the toxic chemical cocktail in other countries, although wood dust and smoke are now proven harmful to our health, you would think that there must be some real snowball effect to the damage to out bodies when toxic chemical vapours and particles are added into the mix.

    Mike.

  11. #10
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    The first death recorded from working with Corian in the US. I wonder how many have died before the connection was made.

    Man Dies of Lung Disease After Working With Countertops, Doctors Report

  12. #11
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    Crikey, that's a bit of an eye opener!
    Looks like I've got the perfect reason to treat myself to a PAPR helmet, love my beard but it does make masks/respirators pretty ineffective. Going to have to work out how to retrofit a filter on the outlet of my cyclone, fabricated in a more naive time

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordBug View Post
    Crikey, that's a bit of an eye opener!
    Looks like I've got the perfect reason to treat myself to a PAPR helmet, love my beard but it does make masks/respirators pretty ineffective.
    As you can see above I have a full beard and it's why I use a full face positive pressure respirator - the overpressure provided by the battery powered fan unit is enough to keep the fine dust out.
    As the battery runs down after about an hour sometimes there's not quite enough air so the face shield can get a bit foggy. I'm thinking of upgrading the battery pack to Li-ion batteries for a bit more long term grunt.

    Going to have to work out how to retrofit a filter on the outlet of my cyclone, fabricated in a more naive time
    Or just plumb the cyclone air exit to outside the shed.

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL View Post
    I agree the article is pretty complicated.

    What the article really points to is that even short term low PM2.5 exposures can cause problems for seniors .
    Please - do not make this mistake. Correlation does not equal causation. While it may well be the case, a lot more work needs to be done to establish the causes of disease highlighted by this study.

    Having said that, I'm not downplaying the dangers of fine particulates and the very real need to control exposure.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossM View Post
    Please - do not make this mistake. Correlation does not equal causation. While it may well be the case, a lot more work needs to be done to establish the causes of disease highlighted by this study. .
    Sure - and that also what David Swan also said on this mornings Health Report on RN.
    Nevertheless he also said it's such a strong correlation, even as low as the 1 g/m3 level, that fine dust issues have to be taken very seriously.

    What I found interesting is the fine dust seems to "exacerbates pre existing conditions" - eg in large city with x million people there are y thousand already living with a certain disease/condition. When the
    dust levels rise by x g/m3 level in that city, there is within days and significant increase in hospital presentations of seniors with that disease.

    BTW Current PM10/PM2.5 levels in my home office ar 1.5 g/m3 and 0.7 g/m3

  16. #15
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    Part of me wishes I hadn’t read this thread - I can see that it’s going to cost me some more money in the short to medium term.

    In the meanwhile, what I need to know is just how much fine dust an ostrich breathes while burying their head in the sand?

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