Where natural resources are exploited
The building materials industry includes quarries, cement works, glues, plaster, glass, insulation such as glass wool and rock wool, as well as various adhesives and paints. The extraction of minerals, crushing, grinding, screening and transport, alternative materials and the fuels and furnaces used to transform these materials generate aerosols throughout the process.
We find hygroscopic and/or abrasive dusts in all these processes, such as clinker, limestone, silica, gypsum, pozzolan, sand, sodium carbonate, or traces of hexavalent chromium, cobalt and nickel… The exposure of workers to these pollutants is regulated; in Europe the TLV for crystalline silica, such as cristobalite and tridymite is set at 0.05 mg/m3. The OEL for glass fibre is set at one fibre/cm3.
Occupational exposure to these pollutants, which are sometimes recognized as Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or Reprotoxic (CMR), can cause professional diseases such as silicosis, rhinitis, asthma, bronchitis or bronco-pulmonary cancer, eye diseases or eczemas…
The exposure of dust on the installations also leads to the premature degradation of equipment and control devices.