What is Nail Dust Generation?
Nail Dust generation is a fine particulate matter which is
created when burring nails.
The fine nature of these particles means that they
are able to remain suspended within the air we breathe for an extended period of time – making them susceptible for inhalation.
Different styles of Podiatry burs result in different levels of nail dust generation rates.
This is due to the different cutting surfaces which create different particulate shapes and sizes – all which have a different propensity to remain suspended within the air an aerosol.
What are the Health Implications of Nail Dust Generation?
When control measures are not implemented when burring, the nail particles can be inhaled and deposit throughout the respiratory tract causing itching, sneezing, bronchitis and coughing in the early stages.
Research has shown that nail dust can be a respiratory sensitiser following extended periods of exposure. This results in the aforementioned symptoms being exacerbated.
Large fungi populations may be experienced in some patents within the Podiatry clinic. These fungi can be transformed into an aerosol via burring, before they can be potentially inhaled by the Podiatrist.
It has been proven within literature that fungal inhalation can cause sensitization of the airways, symptomatic asthma and rhinitis.
What Control Measures can you use?
When a Podiatrist is burring, there are a range of engineering controls and personal protective equipment that ca be utilised to minimise the occupational hazards present.
Podiatry drills are often fitted with dust extractors or water spray mechanisms which are designed to trap and isolate particulate matter before it becomes a hazardous aerosol. Always ensure your Podiatry drill is well maintained and that the extraction bag in emptied on a regular basis.
Personal Protective Equipment such as masks, goggles and other face shields are available to prevent the risks associated with both nail dust and errant flying debris.