Is Your Dust Hazardous?

There are many materials we come across in our everyday lives that we assume are non-hazardous. Or at least we consider them to be for all intents and purposes. Many of these materials, when found in a fine dust form, are combustible and/or explosible. As the size of the individual pieces, or particles, decreases, the surface area to volume ratio increases. This contributes greatly to the explosive nature of a material. In an explosion, a large amount of energy is released over a very short period of time. As per OSHA, any material posing deflagration or fire hazards with an effective particle diameter of less than 420 microns falls under the criteria of combustible dust. However historical data shown us much larger particles can still cause an explosion due to a multitude of reasons. Many industries — from chemicals, plastics, and pharmaceuticals to food processing, agricultural and mineral recovery — face combustible dust hazards in their facilities.

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