On this webpage:
- Agricultural and Construction Measures to Reduce Dust
- Health Effects
- How to Protect Yourself
- Additional Resources
Airborne dust particles can be inhaled, and lodge deep in the lungs. Short term respiratory problems can include pain, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
Long term problems can include decreased lung function, aggravated asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses.
Particle pollution can also impact the heart and cardiovascular system.
Although particulate matter can cause health problems for everyone, certain people are especially vulnerable to adverse health effects. Sensitive populations include children, seniors, exercising adults, and those who already have respiratory or heart conditions.
Another health concern associated with soil disturbances may be Valley Fever.
For more information see http://www.cdc.gov/fungal/diseases/coccidioidomycosis/
Most importantly…Pay Attention to Forecasts!
If high winds are forecast, adjust your schedule to avoid time outdoors, and avoid activities that will stir up dust.
During high wind events, levels of particles can be extremely high for short-term periods. Try to minimize time outdoors and physical activity.
After a wind event, minimize activities that will stir dust particles back up into the air.
If you have to be outdoors when particle levels are high, use respiratory protection.
Note that respirators are not recommended for people with any kind of breathing problem because they limit the flow of air. Consult with your doctor before choosing to use a respirator.
California Air Resources Board: Fugitive Dust Control Self-Inspection Handbook
US Department of Agriculture: Reference Guide for Cropping Systems and General Land Management