Using suppressants to control dust emissions — Part I
"If you don't want it to dust, keep it wet." Years ago, this idea led to the practice of spraying bulk material with water or oil to control dust emissions during handling and processing. Today, chemical dust suppressants are being used in addition to these traditional sprays, particularly in applications where materials are sensitive to moisture or contamination. Part I of this article, the first of two, provides background information on both water and oil sprays and reviews three types of chemical dust suppressants -- surfactants, foams, and encrusting agents. Part II, which will appear in the March issue, provides guidelines for selecting and testing dust suppressants.
Dust is a nuisance, a safety hazard, and a major health issue. The consequences of inadequate dust control — fire, explosion, and disease — cost industry millions of dollars annually in lost production, insurance premiums, and medical benefits.