Sandblasting, sometimes called abrasive blasting, is the operation of forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against a surface under high pressure to smooth a rough surface, roughen a smooth surface, shape a surface, or remove surface contaminants. A pressurized fluid, typically air, or a centrifugal wheel is used to propel the blasting material (often called the media).
Silicosis is a disease that occurs as the result of inhaling the dust of from sandblasting (crystalline silica) as well as other causes. Although other materials can be used, breathing in the dust causes scar tissue to form in the lungs and prevents the lungs from drawing in adequate amounts of oxygen. After even short periods of exposure, acute silicosis occurs and it can be fatal (there is no cure).
Sandblasting causes particles of silica sand and metal dust to hang in the air even after the sandblasting has ended. Workers using sandblasting equipment, or those who work in the vicinity not wearing respiratory protective gear, will inhale the dust particles. Many different chemical elements may be contained in the metal’s dust many with negative impact to the human body.
As a sign of their commitment to the health and safety of workers across the apparel industry, Levi Strauss & Co. has teamed up with H&M to announce a global ban on sandblasting in all of their product lines.
Whereas, the EcoSand® process uses a system of dry, diamond abrasives in machines that contain any dust produced in the process. The system is being used in large and small projects where the benefits of a sand blasted surface are desired but without the potentials environmental hazards.
Waste from the process is then turned into a solid and recycled for highways and highway infrastructure elements. The only other byproduct of the process is water which be reused.
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