Aluminum dust - health issues?

The shop where I work cuts a lot of aluminum, as well as sanding,
polishing etc. The guys who work in the shop have a habit of cleaning the
shop with the air hose, blowing all the nooks and crannies out that you
can't really sweep etc.
How dangerous is this? I have looked but can't find definitive information
on the dangers of aluminum dust.
Reply to
Loading thread data ...
Well, powdered aluminum is said (over an over and over...) to be why Buddy Ebsen was only able to participate in the filming of The Wizard Of Oz for about a day and a half of shooting before he ended up in the hospital. Of course, since he was cast as the Tin Man, he was basically painted with the stuff, so that might have had a SLIGHT effect on increasing the toxicity to the point where it could be a problem...
Reply to
Don Bruder
A Goggle search for "aluminum dust hazard" turned up quite a few references to suspected health effects, but especially fire hazard of the really fine dust.
Reply to
If it is dangerous I am in deep doodoo. I worked in an Army Ammo plant for two years during the Viet Nam war. Eight months of that time was in the "dust" room where we transferred powdered extremely fine ground aluminum dust from 55 gallon drums to big hoppers holding over a ton of the stuff. Even though we wore respirators we would breath in lots of the stuff. I quit after being stuck in that room for over 8 months. SOP's said that 6 month maximum was the longest you could work in that room. Whatcha gonna do when you don't have a strong Union. QUIT and I did. It was a least four or five months before I could blow into a hanky without leaving a big glob of gray in the hanky.I am 57 now and that was in 1966 to 1968. Knock wood, so far I haven't been diagnosed with any respiratory diseases but who knows what the future will bring.
You probably won't be exposed to the amounts of dust I encountered but just to be safe I would ask the boss for clean dust masks on a daily basis or more if needed. Good luck, Dennis
Reply to
depends on the amount of silicon in the aluminum. could cause silicosis. the local aluminum foundry tests their employees every so often for it
Reply to
jay s
In general, no dusty areas should be cleaned with an air hose.
The key phrase to Google for this type of information is "Personal Exposure Limit" or PEL.
The official answer to your question about aluminum dust in contained in the OSHA "Z" tables, (where PEL's are tabulated). You can find links to those tables here:
formatting link
There is a limit to the amount of aluminum dust that you are allowed to have in the air of a workplace, and it happens to be 15 MG per cubic meter of air averaged over 8 hours.
Since you probably don't have any way to measure this, these tables may seem kind of usless; but they can at least give you an idea of the relative toxcicity of the various things you work with. For example; copper is apparently 15 times more toxic than aluminum because its PEL is only 1 MG/M(3) and cadmium is even worse at .2 MG/M(3). Beryllium is the grandaddy of them all at 2 Micrograms/ cubic meter (7.5 thousand times more toxic than aluminum).
In conclusion, make sure that none of that aluminum is actually beryllium.
Reply to
It being a dull day, I decide to respond to what Zander fosted 8 Jun 2004 09:35:15 -0500 on rec.crafts.metalworking , viz:
There should be a Material Safety Data Sheet somewhere in the shop which will list the hazards of any material in said shop. (Yes, even Iron has a MSDS. Iron is not a hazard material, except that fine particles can be an irritant, but I digress.)
You can always contact the materials supplier, or OSHA if the shop doesn't have one.
Reply to
pyotr filipivich
Once upon a time powdered aluminum was routinely administered to coal miners as a supposed prophylatic for 'black lung' disease. Although this was total quackery there was no evidence that this practice was, in itself, harmful. Regards. Ken.
Reply to
Ken Davey
That reminds me of my job shoveling top soil with manure dust in it. It always made me want to go home a barbecue a steak:)
Reply to
Clark Magnuson

Site Timeline

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.