Respirable Particles

Last Updated: August 28, 2020

Definition - What does Respirable Particles mean?

Respirable particles are chemical and environmental agents suspended in the air that can be inhaled through the nose and/or mouth that then travel down the trachea and enter lung tissue. Both natural and artificial particles can be inhaled depending on their relative shape, size, and density. Particles are divided into three subsets: small, medium, and large. Medium particles present the biggest hazard, originating from pollen, coal dust deposits, and large bacterial microbes leading to complicating health issues.

WorkplaceTesting explains Respirable Particles

The growth of industrial organizations contributes to the air quality that is breathed on a regular basis. Particles can derive from either primary or secondary sources. A primary source stems from a direct harmful agent such as carbon fumes from a fire. Secondary sources are usually residual byproducts from gases released into the atmosphere such as automobile emissions or oil refinery plants.

Respirable particles can include dirt, dust, smoke, among other ambient contaminants dispersed throughout the environment. The overexposure of certain respirable particles can impose major health risks, in particular, to individuals working manual labor jobs such as construction and/or mining. People with preexisting heart and/or lung conditions, for example, chronic asthma are susceptible to developing serious respiratory infections.

Safety measures can be implemented to reduce or possibly eliminate the distribution of toxic respirable particles. Filtration system units can be placed in areas where a high concentration of poisonous particles exists, supplying cleaner air to the healthful benefit of its employees. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks are also part of a the safety measures for dealing with respirable particles.

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