Why PM2.5 could be a health issue in your workshop

When we inhale airborne particles, various particles in different shapes and sizes enter our respiratory system, whereby the size of the particle determines how deep it will reach into our respiratory system. Larger particles which are greater than 10 µm will be filtered in the nose or throat, whereas particles smaller than 10 µm, classified as PM10, can penetrate the deepest parts of the lungs such as the bronchioles or alveoli and can cause asthma, coughing, high blood pressure and even heart attacks.

Particles smaller than 2.5 µm such as PM2.5 and PM0.1 pose an even greater risk, as they can penetrate even deeper into the alveoli of our lungs and may enter our circulatory system through the tissue and affect other organs. It is estimated that outdoor particulates with diameters of less than 2.5 µm account for 4.2 million annual deaths worldwide. A study conducted in 2012, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), concludes that long-term exposure to PM2.5 increases the risk of cardiopulmonary and lung cancer mortality. The study also showed that for each 10-μg/m3 increase in fine particles, the risk increases by 4%, 6% and 8%.

In the metalworking industry, depending on the application, the oil mist generated during CNC machining, consists of particles in various sizes. The coolant pressure, oil viscosity, machining speed, oil temperature are factors that affect the size of the particles of oil mist generated during the machining process. When machining on high pressure coolant, for instance, not only is the amount of oil mist generated significant, but also the amount of fine particles that is generated. Having an oil mist eliminator that can effectively evacuate all oil mist from the machine tool cabin, becomes crucial to keep a safe working environment for operators.