Occupational health and safety is one of cement industry’s main concerns, specifically exposure to cement dust and its effect on human lungs.
Dust emissions are associated with each stage of cement manufacturing. Processing of raw materials, transportation by trucks or conveyor belts, kiln systems, clinker coolers and mills, and packaging activities can all release significant amount of airborne dust.
Cement dust contains various types of metal oxides including calcium oxide, silicon oxide, aluminium trioxide, ferric oxide, magnesium oxide, sand and other impurities. While some types of dust can aggravate allergies, worsen asthma symptoms or cause respiratory complications, silica exposure is much more dangerous.
Silica, the most toxic dust, is present in cement in various quantities. Long-term exposure to silica can irreversibly damage lung tissue and cause a range of serious respiratory conditions such as silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, kidney disease and lung cancer.