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Dust Collection For Small Studio

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Isculpt    96

I don't know if this is the appropriate forum for this question, but I am doing clay sculptural work in a very small space, 200 square feet, and I worry about the airborne dust. I try to damp mop frequently, but that only affects the dust on the floor. I wonder if there might be a ceiling-mounted dust collection system that would be suitable. I have one in a woodworking shop, but I wonder if a woodworking dust collection system is suitable for clay dust. The portable room air filters that can bought everywhere -- would they do the job? I can't seem to find specific information by doing Googe searches, and wondered if anyone could point me in the right direction. Thanks....

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Chris Campbell    1,087

I recall a discussion on this a few years ago and as I remember the regular air filters you find in stores do not filter out fine enough particles.

I will try to find the discussion in my archives and post more if there is more.

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I don't know if this is the appropriate forum for this question, but I am doing clay sculptural work in a very small space, 200 square feet, and I worry about the airborne dust. I try to damp mop frequently, but that only affects the dust on the floor. I wonder if there might be a ceiling-mounted dust collection system that would be suitable. I have one in a woodworking shop, but I wonder if a woodworking dust collection system is suitable for clay dust. The portable room air filters that can bought everywhere -- would they do the job? I can't seem to find specific information by doing Googe searches, and wondered if anyone could point me in the right direction. Thanks....

 

 

I believe that Chris is right: the woodworking filters do not filter out enough fine particles. The problem with clay alone is silicosis, a nasty lung disease. When you start adding other ingredients to the mix such as glaze components and kiln fumes you have a chemical potpouri of epic proportions. There are a number of ways to help with the problem. In the Studio section there is a current discussion regarding wearing respirators. If you are interested in a whole studio program there are ways of eliminating inhalation of dust through the use of laminar flow systems and HEPA filtration systems that address the whole studio. It could be a very expensive proposition to provide a whole studio solution. I get by with a filter mask, I use a laminar flow spray hood for spraying glazes and I watch my dust from sanding greenware and bisque. My kilns are outside under an open roof system I use a sweeping compound when I sweep out my studio that helps keep dust down and I use a special mop that is available through a service that is wax impregnated and again keeps dust down. The service picks up the mop heads once a month and replaces them with freshly washed and re-impregnated ones. I only have two of the mops just in case I need to change mid month. I bicycle a lot and so far my respiratory system has been chugging along for well over 6 decades. I don't smoke and I believe that respiratory health and your personal fitness also contribute to overall health but you don't want to overload your system. So I do believe that you need to be careful but not necessarily paranoid or obsessive about the chemicals you use.

 

Best regards,

Charles

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Idaho Potter    62

Try talking to someone who works with drywall. I use drywall filter bags in my shop vac and have never had it blow back on me. Maybe there is also a filter made for exhaust systems that qualifies. In my studio when dust from cleaning tables or if one of the students sweeps instead of vacuums, I have a very fine mister I use to spray the air so the dust quickly settles out of the air. Good luck, and please if you find something that really works, let us know the solution. Thanks.

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JBaymore    1,432

The standard approach to this subject from a toxicological point of view is to use, in this order,......... local pickup ventilation.......... general dilution ventilation........ air filtration.

 

The first line of defense is to not get dust into the air in the first place. Review your working habits. You'll be surprised at the places you generate dust.....without thinking about it. Wet clean everything regularly.

 

Air filtration is NOT the first place to go. You already have two very effective floor mounted air firltration devices in your studio. Your lungs. The air that is in the breathing zone will get to THOSE filters before it gets to a ceiling mounted unit.

 

If the dust is from a diffuse source, then local pickup is not easily done. If it is, then you install that first. Then you turn over the air in the space to keep the contaminants below the PEL / TLV. Then for added insurance you can put in a CAREFULLY considered air filtration unit. In the case of ceramics... it must have a HEPA filter (P-100 equiv.) or it is worse than useless....since it will keep the finest particles well suspended in the air.

 

The Ionic Breeze and other such air filters do not work on the typical ceramic dusts at all.

 

I just today had my students in the Ceramic Materials course (clay and glaze tech) collaborate in small groups and put together a sheet to be distributed in the school called "Things I Do In The Studio That Expose Me To Hazards". They came up with an extensive listing after about 20 minutes of brainstorming on the subject.

 

Prevention is the key.

 

best,

 

................john

 

PS: In reading some of the above postings .... I have a suggestion: Get a copy of "Artist Beware" by Dr. Michael McCann and read it. Also "Keeping Claywork Safe and Legal" by Mononna Rossol. And "The Artists Complete Health and Safety Guide" by Monona Rossol. And while you are at it....... check out A.C.T.S. online ....... Art, Craft, and Theatre Safety.

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Isculpt    96

Thank you all for your helpful advice. I work in my 10x15' clayroom 30 hours a week, creating 8" - 18" sculptures, and although I don't sand my work, there is a fair amount of dust settling on the floor. Idon't mix glazes, using only premixed underglazes for my work. I haven't read anything that indicates specifically how much exposure is dangerous, but since sweeping my floor often creates intense, short-lived headaches, I have to assume that I need to do a better job of keeping the dust down. Following your advice, I will get started on this safety project, tackling it from simple (using a sweeping compound) to a more complex filtration system.

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JBaymore    1,432

lsculpt,

 

No problem. I've been teaching this stuff at the college level for a long time.

 

There should not even BE a broom in your studio. Sweeping compound is close to useless for controll of clay and glaze dust. Wet cleaning is almost the only way to clean in a clay studio.... with the exception of a specialized vacume cleaner. Wet clean everything and regularly. Don't let clay get dry before trying to clean it up......when it is still wet it is NOT a dust hazard.

 

Take a serious look at your daily work habits/processes and figure out HOW that dust is getting there. Spend some time being VERY critical and looking at such "minor" stuff as wiping the side of a dry piece with your hand and then blowing it off. The dust creation thing is insideous cool.gif . See if you can modify or change the way you work to make less dust.

 

The only kind of vacume cleaner that should be used is one MADE for handling high volumes of "toxic dusts and mists", a category into which clay materials fall. They are HEPA filtered, with seriously tight controls on the airflow and any leakage, and are generally expensive (see the Bailey Ceramics model or the Nilfisk units). A "shop vac" from Home Depot or any other general home vacume cleaner is about the WORST thing that you can do in a clay studio. It cleans out the large particles and whips the particles of concern (that you CANNOT see at all) into the air.... whre they remain for 24 hours or more. (At least when there are also big particles in the air... you see them and maybe decide that there is a problem.)

 

The exception to the HEPA filtered "toxic dusts and mists" vacume is if you happen to have a central vacume that exhausts the material to the exterior of the building. These can be wonderful......... but you need to make sure that the exiting dust stream is not mixed into the makeup air being drawn back into the studio. Nor that it ges crap into other living spaces or other people's homes/studios. Or contaminates the area near the exhaust point.

 

Looking at this at a VERY basic level, clay and glaze and slip and underglaze dust contains free microcrystalline silica in the size range that is breathed deep into the lungs, bypassing the body's natural filtering system of the nose lining and upper airways, and gets right deep into the fine end passages of the lungs. It will NEVER come back out. So you are dealing with an issue of long-term, chronic exposure as well as the possibility of short term acute issues.

 

If you look at a MSDS for microcrystaline silica ( https://louisville.edu/research/cleanroom/msds-library/Silica.pdf ) ( http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10030 ) , you will find out that it has some significant health hazards. In fact, compare the time weighted average TLV of microcrystlline silica to some LEAD compounds ( http://www.chem.tamu.edu/class/majors/msdsfiles/msdsbasicleadcarbonate.htm )

 

( http://www.naturalpigments.com/msds/msds_510-8LWG1.htm ).

 

EVERYONE seems to know about the dangers of lead. Well.... silica dust is also rather bad,............just in different ways.

 

 

Take a look here for more definitive info on silica in the workplace (studio):

 

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/silica/compare_to_limit/compare_to_limit.html

 

 

http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/silica/compare_to_limit/tablez3/tablez3.html

 

 

There can be other stuff in the dusts in the studio that also have potential hazards. For example, if you work with a clay body that has additiona of colorants, they can bring other concerns to the major dust source in any studio.

 

Please get the books I mentioned. And lose the broom.

 

best,

 

...................john

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Isculpt    96

John, thank you so much for the detailed response. I have taken it all to heart; the broom is gone, replaced by a new mop and bucket. I can't afford the $600 vacuum at Bailey Ceramics at this time, but I can certainly be much more careful about creating and removing dust. Thanks again...thanks more than I can say. Jayne

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Mossyrock    29

I use an old wet towel attached to the end of a sponge mop (actually just sort of folded over it rather than attached)....it covers a lot of floor in a short period of time (I have vinyl flooring in my studio)....then I just pitch it in the washing machine with my other studio 'rags'. But, I also have a shop vac in my studio that I use to vacuum off work tables, slab roller, etc. Since it can be used as a wet or dry vacuum, I was wondering if putting an inch or so of water in the vacuum would work to catch the clay dust and keep the fine particles from circulating back out of the vacuum. Years ago I had a Johnson vacuum and it recommended putting an inch of water in it to capture dust and not let it back out the exhaust portion of the vacuum. Kind of messy to clean out, but it seemed to work great.

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JBaymore    1,432

But, I also have a shop vac in my studio that I use to vacuum off work tables, slab roller, etc. Since it can be used as a wet or dry vacuum, I was wondering if putting an inch or so of water in the vacuum would work to catch the clay dust and keep the fine particles from circulating back out of the vacuum. Years ago I had a Johnson vacuum and it recommended putting an inch of water in it to capture dust and not let it back out the exhaust portion of the vacuum. Kind of messy to clean out, but it seemed to work great.

 

Is that Johnson unit you mentioned HEPA filtered and rated for toxic dusts?

 

The only way you could verify if the shop vac or the Johnson was "working great" would have been to do industrial environment type air sampling unles it is specifically designed for such uses. Visual inspection tells you nothing; you can't even see the damaging particles, only the ones that get caught by the nose hair, mucus lining, and cillia in the bronchea before they get deep into lung tissue.

 

If such a simple solution was effective, then such units/methods would be approved for industry. There is a reason that actual HEPA filtered vacumes for toxic dusts and mists exist. There are many types of "dust". many dusts are no where as toxic as silica bearing clay dusts.

 

If you are going to use a wet type shop vac, that can work well too.... as long as the clay mess that you are cleaning is made wet before it goes into the hose into the cleaner. If you can spray down the surface you want to clean with water without kicking dust into the air by doing that.........go for the wet vac.

 

best,

 

..............john

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azjoe    3

... Since it can be used as a wet or dry vacuum, I was wondering if putting an inch or so of water in the vacuum would work to catch the clay dust and keep the fine particles from circulating back out of the vacuum.

 

 

No, at least not if your wet-dry vac works the way the typical ones you might buy at Home Depot, Lowes, Sears, or the local hardware store. Essentially these wet-vacs suck the air/dirt/water into the canister. The heavier particles and water fall to the bottom and the air and finer dust particles are expelled through the filter and out the exhaust, effectively making them air-born and breathable by you as you're vacuuming. Capturing these micron-sized silica particles (which are the dangerous ones) can only happen if the filter can trap these extremely small particles... and that requires a HEPA filter. HEPA filters are available for may different shop vacs but they are relatively expensive (~$30) and clog rather quickly... wet mopping is by far the more economical answer. Of course, you could pipe the exhaust outside... that would prevent these fine particles from being blown all over your studio, but in my opinion that just moves the problem to a bigger stage... the area outside your studio where the wind can blow them into areas that unsuspecting people and animals live. YMMV

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a potter    0

lsculpt,

 

No problem. I've been teaching this stuff at the college level for a long time.

 

There should not even BE a broom in your studio. Sweeping compound is close to useless for controll of clay and glaze dust. Wet cleaning is almost the only way to clean in a clay studio.... with the exception of a specialized vacume cleaner. Wet clean everything and regularly. Don't let clay get dry before trying to clean it up......when it is still wet it is NOT a dust hazard.

 

Take a serious look at your daily work habits/processes and figure out HOW that dust is getting there. Spend some time being VERY critical and looking at such "minor" stuff as wiping the side of a dry piece with your hand and then blowing it off. The dust creation thing is insideous cool.gif . See if you can modify or change the way you work to make less dust.

 

The only kind of vacume cleaner that should be used is one MADE for handling high volumes of "toxic dusts and mists", a category into which clay materials fall. They are HEPA filtered, with seriously tight controls on the airflow and any leakage, and are generally expensive (see the Bailey Ceramics model or the Nilfisk units). A "shop vac" from Home Depot or any other general home vacume cleaner is about the WORST thing that you can do in a clay studio. It cleans out the large particles and whips the particles of concern (that you CANNOT see at all) into the air.... whre they remain for 24 hours or more. (At least when there are also big particles in the air... you see them and maybe decide that there is a problem.)

 

The exception to the HEPA filtered "toxic dusts and mists" vacume is if you happen to have a central vacume that exhausts the material to the exterior of the building. These can be wonderful......... but you need to make sure that the exiting dust stream is not mixed into the makeup air being drawn back into the studio. Nor that it ges crap into other living spaces or other people's homes/studios. Or contaminates the area near the exhaust point.

 

Looking at this at a VERY basic level, clay and glaze and slip and underglaze dust contains free microcrystalline silica in the size range that is breathed deep into the lungs, bypassing the body's natural filtering system of the nose lining and upper airways, and gets right deep into the fine end passages of the lungs. It will NEVER come back out. So you are dealing with an issue of long-term, chronic exposure as well as the possibility of short term acute issues.

 

If you look at a MSDS for microcrystaline silica ( https://louisville.e...rary/Silica.pdf ) ( http://www.osha.gov/...ARDS&p_id=10030 ) , you will find out that it has some significant health hazards. In fact, compare the time weighted average TLV of microcrystlline silica to some LEAD compounds ( http://www.chem.tamu...adcarbonate.htm )

 

( http://www.naturalpi...s_510-8LWG1.htm ).

 

EVERYONE seems to know about the dangers of lead. Well.... silica dust is also rather bad,............just in different ways.

 

 

Take a look here for more definitive info on silica in the workplace (studio):

 

http://www.osha.gov/...e_to_limit.html

 

 

http://www.osha.gov/...z3/tablez3.html

 

 

There can be other stuff in the dusts in the studio that also have potential hazards. For example, if you work with a clay body that has additiona of colorants, they can bring other concerns to the major dust source in any studio.

 

Please get the books I mentioned. And lose the broom.

 

best,

 

...................john

 

 

John,

I just became a member and am not sure if this is the appropriate way to ask/respond but I would really love your advice/opinion: I work as a ceramics teacher at a school and mop my floors daily. No broom - but still, when you walk on the floors (Linoleum) the soles of your shoes will be white from the clay dust residue. Sometimes I feel that I just distribute and smear around the clay and when the water dries off the clay dust stays behind. I also have an air filtration system (IQ healthpro plus - reviewed by Jeff Zamek in Ceramics Technical a while ago). I keep the studio as clean as possible - students have to clean their wheels after every use, I wipe all surfaces with a sponge multiple times daily and still there is dust. I wonder what else I could do and have looked at vacs. I'm aware that you need special ones and just read about a new one, the Oneida Air Ceramic Dust Cobra. So here is my actual question - have you heard about this vac, do you think using a vac in combination with the wet mopping could improve air quality and lastly, have you tried the nilfisk vac that bailey ceramics offers? Thanks so much!

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JBaymore    1,432

a potter,

 

Take a look at this recent thread on this topic also:

 

http://ceramicartsdaily.org/community/topic/1802-working-clean/

 

I don't myself know the first vacume you mentioned.... but I know and have used the Nilfisk. They work well.

 

The secret to cleaning clay mateials up is a HUGE amount of water, and changing the water repeatedly as if gets dirty. Otherwise you are just spreading it around. Yes, it is a lot of work and consumes a lot of water. And the water with the clay and glaze materials mess needs to be gotten rid of....... with traps (see that thread too).

 

Just like ceiling mounted air cleaners, the Nilfisk is for the last little bit. For big messes.... it is not that powerful and not that large.

 

Have the students sponge off the FLOOR area under the wheels where they have been working as well as the wheels every time they finish work. That helps.

 

Look at every process you use to see where dust creation is happening. Be like an "efficicncy expert" studying how people work to find ways to make things faster and more productive.... but you are looking for mess and dust creation points. Then institute changes in how you do things.

 

best,

 

..............john

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Mark C.    1,800

The oneida cobra dust system is a hepa system that costs over 1000$-The thing I like about it is its engineered as heavy fine dust system and you can set it up like a central vac with a long hose so the vac can live outside(best of both worlds )as we have a central vac in our house and they put the dust outside away as John said from make up air. I've considered the cobra for a little while now as they are fairly new.My shop is small enough where this would be a great system. I think they ran an ad in CM a few months ago?

http://www.oneida-air.com/static.asp?htmltemplate=static/cobraceramic.html

I now have a hepa air filter in shop for the third partof airborne stuff- but a cleaner floor is always a good thing.

Mark

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Pres    896

a potter,

 

Take a look at this recent thread on this topic also:

 

http://ceramicartsda...-working-clean/

 

I don't myself know the first vacume you mentioned.... but I know and have used the Nilfisk. They work well.

 

The secret to cleaning clay mateials up is a HUGE amount of water, and changing the water repeatedly as if gets dirty. Otherwise you are just spreading it around. Yes, it is a lot of work and consumes a lot of water. And the water with the clay and glaze materials mess needs to be gotten rid of....... with traps (see that thread too).

 

Just like ceiling mounted air cleaners, the Nilfisk is for the last little bit. For big messes.... it is not that powerful and not that large.

 

Have the students sponge off the FLOOR area under the wheels where they have been working as well as the wheels every time they finish work. That helps.

 

Look at every process you use to see where dust creation is happening. Be like an "efficicncy expert" studying how people work to find ways to make things faster and more productive.... but you are looking for mess and dust creation points. Then institute changes in how you do things.

 

best,

 

..............john

 

 

Years ago my HS studio had an infestation of powder post beetles. The oak floor was shot. We found that the floor was mounted on 2Z6 over concrete so the door was 7" above the concrete. The whole thing was filled in with concrete, and was going to be my floor. Then the concrete cracked-so they had the choice from the contractor of fixing it with either ceramic tile or industrial linoleum type tile. I recommended the ceramic so that I could hose the room down periodically. There was already a large drain in the center of the room that had large 6" drain pipe. They opted for the linoleum. So mopping was our only option other than dust mops between periods-This I had the students do, and wash down tables-I mopped 3 times a week. Janitor did it once a week. We did have a Bailey air filtration system that the district changed the HEPI's in every year.

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INYA    4

HI,

 

I have just started with ceramics more seriously and I have a question. I have a vacume cleaner Philips (with Hepa filter, exhaust filter (AFS micro filter) and a special bag with additional Hepa filtration.

- filter

- exhaust filter

- bag that has a HEPA 10 level filtration

 

I use vacume cleaner in a part of our studio where I can`t wash properly (floor is uneven concrete)

 

I wash the floor every two days and I mix dry materials outside with proper mask.

 

In your opinion is that enough for now (until we grow big ;) ? What do you think about this type of vacume cleaner?

Is there only only one type of Hepa filter?

 

Thanks...

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JBaymore    1,432

HEPA is HEPA. So if the unit itself has a good SEAL in the airflow from the intake to the exhaust that routes everything actually through that HEPA filter... you should be just fine using it. I'd clean / change the filter far more often than they recommend for home use though.

 

The surface area of that filter is small. So likely it will clog up quite fast if you do any significant cleaning with the unit.

 

best,

 

...............john

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I'm jumping into this thread rather late... I work in a ceramics studio that is a large, old warehouse. It has unsealed concrete floors that seem to absorb years of dust immediately after I have cleaned them. But since cleaning the floors is one of my tasks at the studio, I have been brainstorming how best and most efficiently to do it. My current method is to vacuum dry with a shop vac (with HEPA filter), spray down the entire floor with water and then vacuum everything back up again with the shop vac. It seems cumbersome, though, and I'd rather try to work with something that will do all three steps in one. How about a commercial carpet cleaner, like the type that you can rent at home improvement stores?

 

Thoughts?

 

Lorien

 

 

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Lucille Oka    16

It is never too late to cover this topic and cover it again and again. As a matter of fact there should be some way to keep this topic available all the time.

 

I agree with the practice of wet mopping and the wet vacuuming.

 

The very first ceramics studio I worked in had a wonderful relationship with the maintenance crew. It was built as a ceramics studio and once a week the studio was hosed down. When we returned the place was so clean and no pieces were ever lost to this practice; dust was a non-issue.

 

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Allapys    0

I have started working out of a pottery studio run by the local pottery guild. The glaze room is very small- glazes are made and people glaze pots in this room. There is no ventilation. No windows, no nothing. The man who makes the glazes wears a respirator, but people are walking in and out of that room within minutes/hours of him making glazes and are spending hours in there glazing their pots. We will be upgrading our space within the next two years, but I would like to do something now. We need some sort of dust collection system or something to avoid dust and neurotoxins such as chrome and manganese. We have a tight budget, but anything is better than nothing! Nothing's been put into place as education on the dangers of exposure has been lacking. Any thoughts or suggestions? thanks

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Dinah    6

Like John has said: and I can't do this capture quote deal: it's your working practices. Full stop. Wet mop area. Just Do It!

 

And have a sprayer and spritz the front of your work shirt/apron before each work session. Then take shirt/apron away for laundering. KEEP THE BLOODY DUST DOWN. IT"S NOT BRAIN SURGERY....JUST DO IT!

 

Sorry to shout, but some of you are pathetically feeble about health and safety.

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