Long-term exposure to hazardous dust considerably increases the risk of occupational disease. According to current international lung disease estimates, exposure to dust hazards at work is a factor in: 15% of adult-onset asthma; 15% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and 10–30% of lung cancers.
When fine particles from many construction materials become airborne they can:
Be inhaled into the lungs causing serious respiratory issues;
Enter the eyes causing irritation, obscuring vision or causing loss of vision;
Create slip hazards when, dust settles on the ground; and
Interfere with the operation of workplace machines and equipment.
Working with wood, metal, and products containing silica or asbestos present significant health risks.