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 . 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):
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.
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!