Prolonged exposure to cement dust can be dangerous for the health of your respiratory system in the long term. So, whether you’re doing DIY projects or working in construction, safety should always be a top priority. And while you can always use a dust mask when working with cement, it’s often not enough.
I remember when I started doing DIY projects at home and found myself constantly suffocating in cement dust, despite wearing a mask. So, I had to find an alternative solution, and that’s when I came across air purifiers for the first time.
At first, I didn’t think they would be of much help since they’re mostly used indoors to take care of general air pollution, not cement dust, but after doing some research, I found the answers that I was really hoping for.
And so, if you’re wondering whether an air purifier can filter cement dust, keep on reading to find out. But first, I want to take a moment to explain what cement dust is and why it’s dangerous in the first place.
What Is in Cement Dust?
Cement dust is particles that come out of the cement mix, which end up in the air, which you and I can end up breathing in.
Since cement is made of a mixture of different ingredients, there are many elements that you can find in cement dust.
You may not notice the dust floating around since the particles can be incredibly small, but they can be very harmful if they find their way into your lungs. That’s why you need an air purifier that can deal with PM 2.5 particles.
If you want to understand the contents of cement dust, all you have to do is look at the ingredients on the back of the bag of cement.
All of the ingredients you see may end up in the air one way or another.
For example, whenever you pour cement to mix it, some of that dust flies up into the air, and if you don’t have ample protection, it can easily end up in your lungs.
Why Is Cement Dust Dangerous?
Some of the ingredients in cement include silica and lime. On top of that, cement also contains calcium oxide, silicon oxide, aluminum trioxide, ferric oxide, magnesium oxide, sand, and other impurities, just to name a few. If you work in construction or with cement frequently, then there’s a high chance that you’ve already been exposed to these elements.
Studies show that inhaling the dust from cement can be very dangerous.
The data suggest that exposure to this dust can lead to irritated lungs and clogged airways, which isn’t great news if you have COPD or other respiratory conditions.
There’s also other data that could point to some symptoms of long-term exposure to cement dust, such as hypertension, back pain, and more.
Whenever I work with cement in my workshop, I know that I have to wear a high-quality mask. This is because I see small particles fly up into the air whenever I empty a bag of cement, and I know that those particles can end up in my lungs.
Regardless of your job or profession, safety should always be a number one priority. So, if you find yourself working around cement, wear the proper protective equipment to protect you from inhaling dust particles.
Can an Air Purifier Filter Out Cement Dust?
Whenever you work around cement, I suggest you wear a dust mask.
The dust masks will be your first line of defense against cement dust.
Many of these masks have advanced filtration systems, which can prevent a lot of the cement dust from getting into your system.
However, since I wanted further protection from these particles, I went to see if air purifiers could do the job as well.
To do this, I had to read up on the technology behind modern air purifiers. And after researching, I found that certain air purifiers can greatly help filter out cement dust.
However, it’s important to remember that I’m not talking about all air purifiers here as there are more than a few that won’t be able to handle the job either.
If you need an air purifier to filter out cement dust, you need to get one with a good filtration system.
And nowadays, the best filter you can find in an air purifier is a HEPA filter. I’ll get into more detail about these filters later, but just understand that if you want an air purifier for dust, this is the type of filter you need.
But in most cases, this isn’t the only filtration system you need. Ideally, you want to have a multi-stage filtration system in your air purifier if you really want to filter out the dust in the room effectively.
With that said, keep in mind that the air purifier can only filter out solid particles. If you want to eliminate the particles completely, you may want to use an air scrubber that you can attach to your HVAC machine to create safe and breathable air in your workshop.
And to help you further understand why these two components are important, I’ll explain them in more detail below. But before I do that, if you’re ready to get yourself the best air purifier for dust, I wrote a guide on the topic so do check it out.
Understanding HEPA Filters
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air, which refers to the filter. These are highly specialized and advanced filters designed to capture even the smallest of solid particles. In theory, these filters should be able to catch 99.97% of airborne particles like dust, mold, ticks, mites, and more. Since they are so effective at removing particles from the air, they are a mainstay in many modern air purifiers.
HEPA filters are primarily made of fiberglass threads. These incredibly thin and fine fiberglass threads are attached together to create a web that can effectively capture and trap even the finest particles.
At the very least, HEPA filters need to be able to capture particles of at least 3 microns in size. This is one of the base requirements to qualify as a “True HEPA Filter”. If the air purifier doesn’t have a “true” HEPA filter on it, then you could be dealing with a HEPA-like filter that won’t be able to do the job as effectively.
And while any HEPA filter can help catch cement dust in the workplace, I suggest going for the higher-grade filters. The thing about HEPA filters is that many grades range from H1-H16, with H16 HEPA filters being able to capture the smallest of solid particles.
While you don’t need the most expensive HEPA filters, an H10 filter and above should be your minimum when looking for HEPA filters for cement dust.
That way, you get to capture as many tiny particles as possible and prevent them from entering your lungs.
Understanding Air Scrubbers
If your surrounding area is very dusty, an air purifier may not be enough for the job because HEPA air purifiers can only capture dust floating around in the air.
However, once the dust settles on different surfaces, the air purifier won’t be able to do much.
That’s why air scrubbers were invented – to capture all of the already settled dust in the area.
As a result, they have become the go-to choice for construction sites with too much dust for an air purifier to handle.
Though they both have HEPA filtration systems, the difference is that air scrubbers have 3-stage HEPA filtration systems, which allow them to capture much more dust than air purifiers with a single HEPA filtration system.
While they can be more effective at eliminating cement dust from the work site, they are the more expensive option. Air scrubbers are typically used in big construction sites and hospitals to keep the air as clean as possible.
So, if you’re just taking on DIY projects and want to eliminate cement dust, this might be overkill. But if you work in construction and want to invest in a device that provides you with the most adequate protection possible, then an air scrubber might be your best bet.
Prolonged exposure to cement dust can lead to respiratory complications with devastating results further down the line.
So, if you work around cement a lot, an air purifier will be a great investment.
Do note that you shouldn’t just go for any air purifier but one with a HEPA filter as these devices are designed to capture the smallest of solid particles, including cement dust.