Not All Deaths Are Equal – The Biases That Mean Dust Monitoring and Deaths from Dust Inhalation Are Too Often Ignored

Did you hear about the plane crash that killed everyone on board? Your answer likely depends on where you live.

According to researchers at the University of Oxford:

‘English Wikipedia readers were much more likely to read about North American and European crashes, and Spanish Wikipedia readers were more likely to read about Latin American crashes.

Page views on English and Spanish Wikipedia for North American and Latin American aircraft crashes, respectively, were each about 50 times greater than for African crashes.’

The Decay of Novelty


And it also depends on when it happened, with Royal Society Open Science, discovering that irrespective of the crash location and body count, ‘on both English and Spanish Wikipedia, page views dropped in half between 3 to 10 days after the event’. The decay of novelty as we lose interest in things when they stop being new.

The Finite Pool of Worry

And then there’s how much capacity you have left to care, the concept scholars refer to as the Finite Pool of Worry.

‘Because people have a limited capacity for how many issues they can worry about at once, as worry increases about one type of risk, concern about other risks may lessen.’ says The Centre for Research on Environmental Decisions.

Proximity. Timing. The competition with other concerns for a limited capacity to impact emotions. It’s a complicated old business – disaster. Its impact, its legacy and even the ways we look at – or away – from it.

And that’s only talking about sudden disastrous events…the plane crash…the typhoon…the attack.

The Slow-Motion Disaster

But what about the disaster that inexorably unfolds? The slow-motion cumulative disaster. Disaster that – over time – takes far more lives than the one off tragedies? Or even a succession of one-off tragedies?

What about:

The 8.9 million people killed by air pollution a year?

The 1 million work-related fatalities annually?

The hundreds of thousands around the world dying every year from workplace dust inhalation?

The millions whose lives are irreparably damaged every year from inhaling dust in the workplace?

As we’ve seen, it’s human nature to focus on more recent, local, high-profile events. Discreet, distinct, storylines.

But don’t the disasters we overlook – the slower moving, less attention-grabbing tragedies that play out day after day – deserve our attention too?

Of course they do.

Which is why we do what we do at Trolex

Which is why we’ve set ourselves this challenge.

“What can we do so that, in 10 years time, every worker in the world exposed to dangerous particulates is wearing personal dust monitoring?

Easier said than done, of course.

Because as well as setting ourselves the task of overcoming the engineering challenge, we’re having to face those natural ‘hidden in plain sight’ biases discussed above.

And not only is the problem of dust and particulate inhalation widely ignored, so too is the priority in finding viable solutions.

Which is the reason we’ve had to privately fund the project every step of the way – from research and development, to manufacturing and distribution. Every penny.

Independently Developed Dust Monitoring Technology


Not that we mind. In fact, we’re proud to have independently conceived and created our range of Air XD products. Innovative dust monitoring technology that’s now the envy of the industry.

Products perfectly capable of helping us meet our 10-year challenge, and in the process save many thousands of lives.

Set against the backdrop of Covid-19 and the billions and billions of pounds spent to combat it, the macabre irony hasn’t been lost on us, that worldwide more people have died inhaling dangerous particulates in the last 5 years than they have from Covid 19…

Unnecessary deaths that for only a couple of million pounds backing, our technology could still go faster and further in preventing.

Maybe we should call for a lockdown?

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