The Department of Labour Inspection issues around 71 dust alerts per year — equivalent to about one alert per five days, pulmonologist Andreas Zachariades told ACTIVE radio.
Dust episodes have increased in the past two-three years, he said.
According to Zachariades, dust particles are harmful as our bodies do not have the defensive mechanisms to remove them on time.
“The bigger the particles, the easier it is for our organism to discard them,” he said.
The most harmful dust particles are the pm2.5% (particulate matter), which cannot be discarded easily by our bodies.
PM2.5 refers to atmospheric particulate matter (PM) that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, which is about 3% the diameter of a human hair.
According to blissair.com, since they are so small and light, fine particles tend to stay longer in the air than heavier particles. This increases the chances of humans and animals inhaling them into the bodies.
Owing to their minute size, particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers are able to bypass the nose and throat and penetrate deep into the lungs and some may even enter the circulatory system.
Studies have found a close link between exposure to fine particles and premature death from heart and lung disease. Fine particles are also known to trigger or worsen chronic disease such as asthma, heart attack, bronchitis and other respiratory problems.
Vulnerable population groups
According to Zachariades, vulnerable groups of population include children up to six years old, elderly people as well as those with chronic respiratory and heart issues.