The disturbance of cement, concrete, and brick during the performance of demolition work, gutting work, and facade renovation and re-pointing work unavoidably results in the release of high levels of crystalline silica, which is an eye, nose, and throat irritant and an IARC category 1 carcinogen.
To prevent demolition and construction-related dust from infiltrating into non-work areas, the work areas must be sealed off from the non-work areas with the use of poly sheeting. The work areas must also be negatively pressurized relative to the non-work areas with the use of negative air machines that are exhausted to the outdoors. The use of poly sheeting containment and negative air machines will often be sufficient to control dust migration into non-work areas of a building.
If you are experiencing respiratory problems and/or eye, nose, and throat irritation as a result of ongoing demolition work, gut/renovation work, and/or brick facade work, then air testing for crystalline silica (and asbestos) should be conducted while demolition work is being performed to evaluate levels of airborne crystalline silica to determine whether your respiratory problems may be associated with the infiltration of crystalline silica.
If the demolition/construction work has already been completed and non-work areas have become contaminated with settled dust, then settled dust sampling for crystalline silica can be performed to evaluate whether there may be an association between your adverse health symptoms and elevated levels of crystalline silica in settled dust. If the surfaces being disturb may also contain lead based paint and asbestos, then settled dust sampling should also be performed to evaluate levels of lead and asbestos in dust.
If levels of crystalline silica, lead, or asbestos are found to be significantly elevated in occupied non-work areas compared to regulatory or governmental guidance levels, then a substantial cleanup may be necessary to clean/abate the hazardous dust in the space.
Please call Angstrom Testing Services if you would like to discuss your construction dust infiltration problem and/or schedule the recommended sampling. We have teams of highly qualified and experienced Certified Indoor Environmental Consultants and Industrial Hygienists available to document existing conditions and to perform the recommended sampling. Expert witness testimony is also available.