Those are the results of a study by the University of Massachusetts Lowell Department of Work Environment, which was reported on ForConstructionPros.com. They confirm the results of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that we reported on back in July: wet-cutting concrete reduces worker exposure to dust and, more importantly, to respirable crystalline silica (RCS).
These findings are important because breathing in RCS can cause a number of respiratory conditions, including silicosis, COPD, tuberculosis, and lung cancer. The studiers concluded:
Dry cutting with gas-powered concrete saws should not be allowed under any circumstances, unless the firm is prepared to perform personal air sampling to ensure that exposure levels do not exceed acceptable limits. When exposure levels are known, selection of the appropriate respirator can be an effective way to reduce personal exposures, although the dust can still fill the work area and expose other workers and the neighborhood. The regular use of water controls on gas-powered concrete saws is a clear and effective way to reduce the level of respirable dust altogether: for operators, other project workers and the community.
ForConstructionPros.com, “Wetter is Better to Control Concrete Dust“
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