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Basement Studio - Dust Control


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#1 dnkreid

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:38 AM

It seems that very few potters concern themselves with the pulmonary risks of clay dust. (I see that even the majority of the ceramic arts daly editors have basement studios). If you feel that you TRULY control dust in your basement studio, please describe your equipment and regimen. (Hint - If you have concrete floors, you need not respond).

#2 Kabe

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 11:58 AM

It seems that very few potters concern themselves with the pulmonary risks of clay dust. (I see that even the majority of the ceramic arts daly editors have basement studios). If you feel that you TRULY control dust in your basement studio, please describe your equipment and regimen. (Hint - If you have concrete floors, you need not respond).


I have a basement studio and dust is a problem at times. I try not to sweep and have all the returns on the furnace covered so I do not pull the dust into the rest of the house. I have concrete floors. I started using an old carpet machine to clean them. I can put out the water to stop the dust and then suck it back up into the tank to contain it. Seem to work and is less messy than mopping. There is to much stuff down there to hose it out and I do not have the right drain system to do that anyway. I also have a shop vac with the finest filtered bags I can buy. they work a lot better than the round filters that fit onto the head of the vaccume, at least it seems that way to me. I try to clean up my triming while they are still damp. I do not know of all the other pitfalls I may be creating, snd am guilty of not watching it close enough. I do to try to protect my health from the medium I love. I am open for suggestions. Ain't clay fun Kabe

#3 JBaymore

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 12:09 PM

http://ceramicartsda...ning-practices/
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#4 Dinah

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 06:17 PM

Every potter I know is concerned about silicosis. I wet mop regularly.
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#5 over the hill pottery

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 10:46 PM

I attach a simple furnace filter to a box fan that i keep running almost constantly. It only helps keep air born dust down but it does help.

#6 JBaymore

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 05:34 AM

I attach a simple furnace filter to a box fan that i keep running almost constantly. It only helps keep air born dust down but it does help.


Appriciate you sharing the thought .... but actually you should likely read some of the threads that I included in the re-posting from other threads that I did above. The dust that causes the medical issues has such a fine particle size that it is invisible in the air and also passes through everything except a HEPA / P-100 type of filter.

MOST "furnace filters" will not filter out this sub-micron particle material.... just capturing the larger particles that you can often see in the air and that also do not get deep into the lungs. So that box fan might just be whipping MORE respirable dust into the air or at the least keeping it suspended in the air longer than if you did not have it.

Also maybe please see the books:

"Artist Beware" by Dr. Michael McCann

"The Complete Artist's Health and Safety Guide" Monona Rossol

"Keeping CLaywork Safe and Legal" Monona Rossol

"Industrial Ventilation" ASHRAE


best,

...................john
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#7 Frederik-W

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 06:40 AM

So what is the issue/difference with a concrete floor ? Is it just because concrete and tile floors wash off easily?

If I live on a farm in the dusty outback and I drive on dirt roads with clouds of fine dust,
then what is the big issue with a bit of dust from a natural clay like Terracotta?


"In the United States obesity is estimated to cause an excess 111,909 to 365,000 deaths per year".
"According to CDC data,silicosis in the United States is relatively rare.
... only 187 deaths in 1999 had silicosis as the underlying or contributing cause
".
"Brief or casual exposure to low levels of crystalline silica dust are said to not produce clinically significant lung disease." - Wikipedia


It is always a good idea to take reasonable precaution, but I think this issue is sometimes blown out of proportion.

Indemnity insurance is already sky-high due to unnecessary paranoia about everything and every time students scratch a piece of dry clay they have to wear masks.
Not to mention safety boots, eye-protection and what-not.



#8 OffCenter

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:23 AM

So what is the issue/difference with a concrete floor ? Is it just because concrete and tile floors wash off easily?

If I live on a farm in the dusty outback and I drive on dirt roads with clouds of fine dust,
then what is the big issue with a bit of dust from a natural clay like Terracotta?


"In the United States obesity is estimated to cause an excess 111,909 to 365,000 deaths per year".
"According to CDC data,silicosis in the United States is relatively rare.
... only 187 deaths in 1999 had silicosis as the underlying or contributing cause
".
"Brief or casual exposure to low levels of crystalline silica dust are said to not produce clinically significant lung disease." - Wikipedia


It is always a good idea to take reasonable precaution, but I think this issue is sometimes blown out of proportion.

Indemnity insurance is already sky-high due to unnecessary paranoia about everything and every time students scratch a piece of dry clay they have to wear masks.
Not to mention safety boots, eye-protection and what-not.


You are absolutely right. I sometimes joke that it's hard to throw pots with my hazmat suit on and wonder if it would be okay to just remove the gloves for short periods of time. Silica dust isn't plutonium. You inhale silica dust in the great outdoors (on bike paths, for example or on dirt roads and in many other situtations). Those of us who studied pottery in the 70's were constantly covered in clay dust and no one ever used any masks or filters. My pottery professor is in his 80's now and for 30 years he and his students mixed clay in "the clay room" by filling a barrel full of dry clays with a plank wedged into the barrel and then rolling it back and forth. That room was so full of clay dust that it was like looking through a thick fog. Almost all college pottery studios and individual and group studios were like that. NO, I'M NOT SAYING THAT THAT WAS SMART OR SOMETHING YOU SHOULD DO TODAY, but I am saying that if silica was as dangerous as some alarmists claim, everyone who studied pottery in the 60's and 70's would be dead now. All you have to do is use common sense in the studio. Wear a HEPA mask when doing anything in the studio that stirs up a lot of dust. Keep a couple of spay bottles full of water to mists the air when you stir up a little dust, etc. Just use common sense and get on with your potting instead obsessing about silica dust.

Jim
E pur si muove.

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#9 GEP

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:34 AM

" It seems that very few potters concern themselves with the pulmonary risks of clay dust."

I disagree with this statement too. I know a lot of potters, from students to professionals, of all ages, and it seems to me that all of them are concerned about dust. Granted everyone takes precautions at a different level, but I don't know anyone who operates in a state of ignorance. Overall potters have done a good job in recent decades of "spreading the word" about this issue.

I would also like some clarification on why a concrete floor makes a difference here?

Mea
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#10 OffCenter

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 10:37 AM

I know of one example of where this fear of silica carried to the extreme has done more harm than good. Some potters install studio air filters that are often located near the ceiling. The potter(s) think that this noisy, expensive system has solved the silica dust problem and stop using masks when sweeping, etc. But, what they don't consider is that they are creating as much or more dust than they did before they put the air filter in and that dust is reaching their nose before it reaches the filter.

Jim
E pur si muove.

"But it does move," said Galileo under his breath.

#11 JBaymore

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 12:07 PM

I know of one example of where this fear of silica carried to the extreme has done more harm than good. Some potters install studio air filters that are often located near the ceiling. The potter(s) think that this noisy, expensive system has solved the silica dust problem and stop using masks when sweeping, etc. But, what they don't consider is that they are creating as much or more dust than they did before they put the air filter in and that dust is reaching their nose before it reaches the filter.


Dead on correct, Jim. Ceiling mounted HEPA air filters are the last line of defense after all the other stuff (like good CLEANING practices) have been taken care of.

Unfortunately........ "common sense" is not all that common sometimes.


And FYI... I personally know of two potters in my general age range (60s) that do have silicosis. In fact, I imagine that most potters on this list would recognize one of their names. I can't / won't "out" them in a place like this..... if they want people to know about personal health conditions they will share it themselves. But they've told me that fact (I guess since I teach ceramic toxicology as part of my work).

I've had a couple of occupation health related issues in my 40 year clay career too. Such stuff does happen. It is pretty common that most people probably do not like talking about personal health issues in public.

best,

..................john
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Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#12 Diana Ferreira

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 12:18 PM

Oh how I wish that this forum had a 'like' button, like facebook!

We are cautious at the studio where I work. In total there is about 16 people working in the studio. We wet-mop, and spray when cleaning. The guys who fettle some of the bigger pieces dry, work in the spray booth with the extraction fan on. The owner wants to get a specialized extraction table which is quite an ingenius piece of work. The woodworking factory next to us use these for sanding work. (sucking the dust down into the table, from where it is sucked out of the building.)

But on the whole, I agree with the others. I live in Africa. It is dusty. I grew up in a small farming community and dirt was part of my staple feed, so to say. I am also a RN, and my whole family is all in the medical field. For that reason I do not use antiseptic soaps and cleaners in my house. I do not buy into the hype of using sanitizers, etc. And I might get a mild cold once a year, if that much.
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#13 claydog

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 10:40 AM

Oh how I wish that this forum had a 'like' button, like facebook!

We are cautious at the studio where I work. In total there is about 16 people working in the studio. We wet-mop, and spray when cleaning. The guys who fettle some of the bigger pieces dry, work in the spray booth with the extraction fan on. The owner wants to get a specialized extraction table which is quite an ingenius piece of work. The woodworking factory next to us use these for sanding work. (sucking the dust down into the table, from where it is sucked out of the building.)

But on the whole, I agree with the others. I live in Africa. It is dusty. I grew up in a small farming community and dirt was part of my staple feed, so to say. I am also a RN, and my whole family is all in the medical field. For that reason I do not use antiseptic soaps and cleaners in my house. I do not buy into the hype of using sanitizers, etc. And I might get a mild cold once a year, if that much.


I quit using antiseptic soaps and cleaners about ten years ago. I have had way fewer colds, though of course I can't say for sure it is because of changing soaps. Antiseptics do harm in the water supply, killing beneficial bacteria and other organisms. Once you remove those beneficial bacteria, other things move in that are more resistant to being killed, and those things can be bad for you. I remember back in the 80's when the first e-coli outbreaks occurred with hamburger meat. A study revealed that e-coli was taking over work surfaces in meat grinding plants because the use of bleach and other antiseptic cleaners was wiping out the benign bacteria. The e-coli was more resistant to the antiseptics, so it populated the work surfaces now devoid of the benign stuff.




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