What are the Hazards of Bronze Dust?
Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12% tin and often with the addition of other metals (such as aluminium, manganese, nickel or zinc) and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon.
These additions produce a range of alloys that may be harder than copper alone, or have other useful properties, such as stiffness, ductility or machinability.
Because historical pieces were often made of brasses (copper and zinc) and bronzes with different compositions, modern museum and scholarly descriptions of older objects increasingly use the more inclusive term "copper alloy" instead.
Studies show that toxic metals contribute to brain diseases by producing oxidative stress and bronze is one of the worst offenders. The prevailing belief around the world is that bronze is linked to degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
According to Washington DC’s Department of the Planet Earth, United States and Canadian regulatory agencies are interested in metal dust as a potential risk factor in elderly cognitive impairment.
Exposure to metal dust, unfortunately, is common with some occupations like mining, factory work, and welding. Welding can be especially worrisome because it produces vapors that, when inhaled, send the alloy directly into the lungs in a “super absorption” status where it is released to the blood and distributed to the bones and brain. Researchers have repeatedly examined the consequence of inhaling metal vapors and the results are grim. Effects on memory and concentration have been cited.
Bronze Dust is Combustible and is an Explosion Hazard:
When most people think of controlling dust in the workplace, they think of taking steps to avoid inhaling dusts to prevent health problems. However, the accumulation of combustible dusts in the workplace can lead to far greater consequences. As seen in recent years, neglect of housekeeping and improper handling of combustible dusts can lead to property damage, injuries and loss of life.
During fabricating operations, bronze fines may be generated by such activities as grinding, polishing, sawing, cutting, sanding or scratch brushing and at least some of them will be fine enough to be potentially explosive. The term “dust” or “powder” is frequently used to describe such particles.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines a combustible dust as “a combustible particulate solid that presents a fire or deflagration hazard when suspended in air or some other oxidizing medium over a range of concentrations, regardless of particle size or shape.” In general, combustible particulates having an effective diameter of 420 μm or smaller, as determined by passing through a U.S. No. 40 Standard Sieve, are generally considered to be combustible dusts. However, agglomerates of combustible materials that have lengths that are large compared to their diameter (and will not usually pass through a 420 μm sieve) can still pose a deflagration hazard. Therefore, any particle that has a surface area to volume ratio greater than that of a 420 μm diameter sphere should also be considered a combustible dust. The vast majority of natural and synthetic organic materials, as well as some metals, can form combustible dust. The NFPA’s Industrial Fire Hazards Handbook states, “any industrial process that reduces a combustible material and some normally non-combustible materials to a finely divided state presents a potential for a serious fire or explosion.”
Suggested Industrial Vacuums for Recovery of Toxic & Combustible Dust
PrestiVac HEPAPlus* Vacuums are specifically designed to safely vacuum toxic dusts. Equipped with a Certified Absolute HEPAPlus*filter with an efficiency of 99.995% on 0.2 micron so there is no risk of exposure or contamination for the operator or the environment. These vacuums are tested for absolute filtration. Testing Method: IEST RP-CC034.3. H14. MIL-STD 282 / A.S.T.M. - D2986-91. MPPS method EN 1822.
PrestiVac Explosion Proof/Dust Ignition Protected Vacuums are designed to safely vacuum explosive, flammable, combustible conductive* dusts. Our Explosion Proof/Dust Ignition Protected Vacuums are completely grounded and static dissipating because they are built entirely with non-sparking metals and do not have any painted components so there is no risk of fire or explosion from a spark or static build up. All the electrical components, including the motor and starter are totally enclosed so there is no source of ignition. Our explosion proof vacuum cleaners comply with NFPA 484 guidelines and are an effective tool for good housekeeping practise as per OSHA.
- Dustless Sanding Vacuums
- Explosion Proof Division 1 Vacuums
- HEPA Vacuums
- Immersion Separator
- Immersion Separator Dustless Sanding Vacuums
Which Industries are at Risk with Bronze Dust?