We know that inhaling particles can be bad for our health, but do we really know why, or what dose, is needed for harm to occur? Depending on the particle size, chemical composition and dose, our lungs and other organs can be affected in very different ways. Let’s take a look at some of the variables which determine how our bodies might react to the tiny solid particles suspended in the air, commonly known as dust.
Dust particles are either “inorganic” or “organic,” depending on their source. Inorganic dusts such as silica, asbestos, and coal usually come from grinding metals or minerals. Organic dusts from plants or animals have a wide variety of compounds from both the source and from additional microbes and the toxic substances given off by microbes (histoplasmosis, psittacosis, and Q Fever).