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Shaking the Dust of This Town Off My Feet

Posted on September 25, 2012
by Wendy Stackhouse

 

No, I’m not leaving AirTek! We are having the sidewalks replaced outside my office.

It’s been a while and the city has decided to replace sidewalks that have become damaged by small earthquake activity and tree roots coming up under the concrete. A couple of weeks ago a team came by and marked up our sidewalks with spray paint so we (and they) can see which portions are coming out and which are staying, and yesterday the actual work started on the other side of the street.

I was watching the workers for a while when I came to a realization that our readers might be interested in:

The workers weren’t wearing dust masks.

The first part of the job was a sort of grinding of the surface of the sidewalks. If you looked at them afterward, they had a sort of swirled pattern, which I assume somehow makes them easier to break up. But the cloud of dust that grinding machine kicked up was huge and made me glad they’re doing the other side first (not that that will be the case forever).

Concrete is made of a mixture of cement, water and “aggregate” which can be composed of gravel, rocks, sand and other materials like silica. Cement dust is a health hazard which “causes lung function impairment, chronic obstructive lung disease, restrictive lung disease, pneumoconiosis and carcinoma of the lungs, stomach and colon…[and] reach essentially all the organs of the body and affects the different tissues including heart, liver, spleen, bone, muscles and hairs…” according to PubMed.gov, a public health website. And then there’s the “small amounts of crystalline silica that are abrasive to skin and causes damage to lungs or small amounts of chromium that can cause allergic reactions,” according to the California State Insurance Compensation Fund.

As concerned as we are for the health of the people who live and work on this street, we have a greater level of concern for these workers who will soon enough be over on this side of this street and later move on to the next street and the next, still without protection for their respiratory health. I think I’ll call the city…

After all, I don’t want the dust of this town coming off my feet and ending up in someone else’s lungs! It is important to take dangers to your respiratory health very seriously, both at home and at work.

Tomorrow is National Mesothelioma Awareness Day and we hope that you will learn more about the causes and prevention of Mesothelioma on tomorrow’s blog at Alliance Environmental Group: Mesothelioma 101!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for AirTek and our parent company, Alliance Environmental Group, which offers residential and commercial cleaning, pest control, demolition, structural pasteurization and many other enviromental challenges. She is very happy to blog, post and Tweet for Alliance and AirTek and celebrates her one year anniversary with them on September 29th.

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