First, thanks so much for your reply to an earlier question. It prompted me to have my asthma & allergies re-evaluated. As a result my diagnoses changed, I am now on new medication (Singular), under treatment by a new doc and feeling so much better! Second, I had an additional question: I work with stained glass as a hobby and have recently begun to wear a half-face respirator during soldering so as not to make my asthma worse from fume inhalation. (I didn't do this during the first few years). My question is, should I also be wearing some sort of breathing protection when I grind the glass pieces? The glass grinder uses a shield directly over the grinding bit (about 10 x 12 inches), but I stand directly over it, with my face only about 12-18 inches from the shield. The glass is ground wet, and there is spray, and you can often see a fine, colored glass dust accumulating. Is the wet glass dust in the air harmful if breathed? Or is it unlikely to be breathed in? I know it is harmful to breath fiberglass particles, so I was wondering about this. Thanks in advance for your feedback. I do appreciate having this forum available.
Yes, the glass dust that is in the air above the grinder is harmful. It might cause silicosis if enough of it is inhaled over time. Since you use a respirator, you should be sure that it is the right one to protect you from your specific exposures, that include lead fumes and glass particle dust. In addition, the respirator should be fit tested by a trained technician to be sure that the mask you are using fits your face and excludes these harmful exposures. Simply picking one off a shelf may not protect you adequately. National Jewish Medical and Research Center has a respiratory fit program that you are welcome to contact at (800) 621-0505 x1539.
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