It is believed that dust is dust, and all dust can be treated the same – this is false. While dust is a universal term used by numerous industries, the types of dust produced within these industries range in particle size, exposure limits, and collection machine suggestion. Understanding the types of dust lingering around your workplace can not only benefit you by choosing the right collection method, but also your workers due to hazardous particles produced resulting in exposure limitations.

Concrete Dust

Concrete dust – the most common form of dust typically resides in the air for a longer period. Being in an airborne state longer makes this dust more susceptible for workers to breathe in. Concrete dust is most commonly known by what it contains; crystalline silica. This is a hazardous particle that upon excessive inhalation, can cause silicosis.  With a wide range of particle sizes, this abrasive dust requires a versatile filtering system.

Wood Dust

Typically found in a wood shop, wood dust has varying particle sizes that most commonly precipitate in the nasal cavity. Wood dust is linked back to an increased risk of cancer in the upper respiratory tract. Not only is this type of dust dangerous to workers medically, but it is both combustible and potentially explosive when in certain environments. Wood dust in large concentrations creates fire and safety hazards.

Metal Dust

Being highly abrasive, this type of dust can create long-term health problems upon inhaling. Repeated exposure can harm workers lungs, nervous system, and other organs including the liver and kidneys. Many industries produce metal dust, so understanding your industrial dust production to combat against metallic dust – a heterogeneous substance affecting the lungs resulting in a respiratory disease – will impact workers health.


Car tires are the most common use of rubber products, while most products do in fact use rubber. Rubber manufacturing one of the most susceptible environments due to rubber itself being statically chargeable. Fully charged, rubber through electrostatic precipitators can be self-igniting. Workers are not safe when working in rubber manufacturing because it’s health effects include, but are not limited to, leukemia, lymphoma, and various cancers.


Classified as a carcinogen, leather is linked to potentially causing cancer in sinus areas and nasal cavities. Like rubber, leather is extremely combustible and explosive in certain environments requiring safety precautions to take place.

Carbon Fibers

Being as strong as steel, but incredibly lightweight, this polymer material typically makes up bicycles, aircrafts, cars, boat propellers, and much more. With a medium flow velocity, this dust does not linger in the air for too long. However, upon breathing in carbon fibers, workers are risked with carbon nanotubes linked to cancers that are similarly found in asbestos particles.


Breathing in excessive amounts of fiberglass dust initially can result in bronchitis and soreness of the nose and throat. Long-term fiberglass dust can cause asthma and decrease lung function. Fiberglass is known for its abrasive nature clinging onto skin and when inhaled, clinging internally.

Found when making boat hulls, electronics, insulation, and many more, fiberglass is a reinforced material made from glass fibers with resin as an adhesive.


Plastic, one of the most wildly used materials in the world can come in a variety of forms. If working with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) be aware that this is the most toxic plastic for health purposes. It releases toxic chemicals including dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene, dichloride, lead, cadmium, and other chemicals not listed.


Brick manufacturing is related to concrete when it comes to the construction process. Even when in the final construction phase, brick dust is still present, and workers are still susceptible. Brick dust is hazardous to workers health, and when exposed to copious amounts, workers are at risk of crystalline silica dust, resulting in silicosis.

Welding Fumes

Beyond the imminent need to wear a welding mask in hopes of protecting vision, welders also risk welding fumes. Welders are exposed to free-flowing fumes and fine dust that has the potential to harm those around the welding area holistically. Long term exposure to these welding fumes can result in cancer of the lungs, larynx, and urinary tract.

What can help me combat against this lingering dust?

That’s a great question! Here at Industrial Vacuum we have a range of dust collection systems for your industry to combat against even the toughest of lingering dust. While you may not see excessive amounts of dust within your workplace currently, it is there. Dust is constantly threatening your workers, so make the conscious decision to help them today. Contact us with any inquiries on what dust collection system is right for you to rent or purchase.