Mortar mix dust can be hazardous to your health. This product produces large amounts of dust upon mixing, which can be harmful to your lungs, skin, eyes and hair. However, there are several safety measures to protect yourself while using mortar mix. By following a few tried and true methods and understanding the hazards of mortar dust, you can use mortar effectively and efficiently.
Mortar dust can be harmful to your lungs if inhaled. When mixing this product, a large amount of dust is expelled into the air, which is almost always inhaled into the user's nose and airway. Some of this dust may even make its way into your lungs, which can transport the chemical additives into the bloodstream. The mortar powder chemicals are also caustic and will irritate the lining of the throat and lungs. Wearing a dust mask can prevent 90 percent of dust from entering your airways. However, wear a mask that fits tightly around your nose and mouth.
Mortar dust is extremely caustic to the skin. The powder will irritate the skin, causing skin rashes, and, in some cases, cell death. Prolonged exposure to mortar chemicals could result in large sores on the arms, hands and face. To avoid this, wear protective clothing, such as a long sleeve shirt and rubber gloves. Never wear shorts when working with mortar.
Because mortar contains very caustic chemicals, it will almost always irritate any part of the human body. However, it poses an added risk to the eyes because of its sand content. The course sand mixture in mortar will scratch the eye, leaving it red and irritated, and once the chemical compound in mortar enters these scratches, the risk of infection increases. Wear safety goggles that fully seal around the eyes when working with mortar.
One of the most ignored problems of mortar mix dust is that it is hazardous to the hair. The dust can settle onto the scalp and hair tips, damaging hair follicles and tips. Protect your hair from mortar mix dust by wearing a cap when using the product. If you have large amounts of dust in your hair, wash it out with water.
- "Safety for Masons"; Richard T. Kreh; 2006
- "The Management of Construction Safety and Health"; Richard J. Coble, Theo C. Haupt, Jimmie Hinze; 2000
- "Occupational, Industrial, and Environmental Toxicology"; Michael I. Greenberg; 2003
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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