A systematic review of the effectiveness of dust control measures adopted to reduce workplace exposure

Publication Name

Environmental Science and Pollution Research


The recent increase in silicosis cases in several countries casts doubt on dust control practices and their effectiveness in preventing respirable crystalline silica (RCS) exposure. Apart from silicosis, RCS may lead to other illnesses, health-related quality of life losses for workers and their families, and economic losses for companies. Thus, this systematic literature review examined the effectiveness of interventions employed to prevent exposure to RCS and increase the use of dust control measures. The review used keywords related to dust control interventions to search seven databases. Search results were screened and extracted for synthesis. The narrative synthesis showed the extent of research investment in China. In several designs and combinations, the interventions utilized water, surfactant, foam, and air currents to reduce dust exposure. These interventions offer varying degrees of dust control effectiveness against RCS and respirable dust. Although evidence indicates that interventions significantly decrease dust concentration levels, the control measures in place may not effectively prevent workplace overexposure to RCS. The review found that education and training interventions are employed to improve dust controls and respiratory protective equipment (RPE) use. Also, marketing strategies promote the use of RPE. These interventions can increase the frequency of use of RPE and the adoption of best practice dust control measures. Interventions increase knowledge, awareness, and attitudes about RPE usage and generate positive perceptions while reducing misconceptions. However, the benefits obtained from an intervention may diminish after its implementation, indicating that the interventions may not continually motivate workers to adopt control measures or use RPE.

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