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Minimize Exposure to Grain Dust

Grain dust is made up of a complex mixture of organic material including husk particles, cellulose, and starch granules.

Additional components may include plant materials, mold, mold spores, insect parts, bacteria, and soil.

Breathing the combination of materials can be hazardous to your health.

Exposure to lower concentrations to grain dust during normal types of work may cause chest tightness, wheezing, a slightly sore or irritated throat, nasal and eye irritations, and a general feeling of being congested.

The key to protecting yourself against exposure to grain dust is to look for opportunities to minimize exposure.

Always make sure that dust collection systems are working properly, be consistent with housekeeping efforts, keep covers on equipment, and minimize the use of compressed air.

Workers can also protect themselves from grain dust by wearing particulate respirators. Particulate respirators often are referred to as "dust masks."


However, particulate respirators are the simplest and least expensive of all of the respirator types available.

Particulate respirators do not protect against chemicals, gases, and vapors.

Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;

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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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