New testing proves efficacy of real-time silica monitor that could save thousands of lives

New test findings released, confirm the efficacy of a world-first real-time monitor for silica dust, which represents a revolution in the protection for workers exposed to respirable crystalline silica (RCS) dust.  

As a leading workplace safety technology company, we have developed the AIR XS Silica Monitor, designed to protect workers against lung diseases such as silicosis by providing real-time readings of levels of crystalline silica in the air.  

We have recently commissioned a leading occupational hygiene and laboratory testing organisation to conduct independent testing of the AIR XS. The results show the AIR XS repeatedly provided consistent, accurate, real-time data throughout an eight-hour testing period.  

The testing demonstrates that AIR XS can improve worker safety by providing instant information to businesses and workers exposed to RCS, instead of having to wait up to four weeks to know their level of exposure to this killer dust, which is the current industry standard.  

While the Australian Government recently implemented a ban on engineered stone, commencing 1 July 2024, the process most synonymous with creating silica dust, Group CEO Glyn Pierce-Jones said this ban alone would not solve the current health crisis caused by RCS.  

“Silica dust is found in most building materials, so while banning engineered stone is a positive step, it’s not a holistic solution. The real issue facing the industry is the current archaic methods of testing for silica dust and the delay it causes in creating the safest possible workplace.” 

The AIR XS is already being used in Australia to monitor RCS levels in many industrial locations. 

Silica occurs naturally in soil, sand and granite; however, it is almost harmless in that state. Once those materials have been disturbed through construction or mining, silica dust is generated and can be inhaled into the lungs. This dust can cause silicosis, and other types of lung diseases and cancer, which are often irreversible and progressive. 

Recent research from The Lung Foundation showed an estimated 600,000 Australian workers and between 40-50 million workers worldwide are exposed to silica dust across a wide range of industries including quarrying, construction, tunnelling, mining and many manufacturing processes. 

The current approach to test for RCS is gravimetric sampling, the process requires collection, processing, and laboratory analysis of the sample, which is both time-consuming and costly for businesses. Direct-reading instruments offer businesses the ability to monitor employee safety on sites in real-time, eliminating the delays of weeks typically associated with potential RCS exposure. 

Mr Pierce-Jones emphasised the urgent need for enhanced safety measures for anyone who may be in contact with silica.   

“The current testing methodology for RCS only allows users to take an average reading over an eight-hour period and typically takes up to four weeks to produce a result,” Mr Pierce-Jones said. 

“Our AIR XS Silica Monitor was designed to provide an accurate reading with immediate results, letting workers know when their health is in danger and allowing employers to respond in the most efficient manner.” 

“These latest test results are another indicator of what we already knew at Trolex – that the AIR XS could be part of a desperately needed solution to an urgent health crisis.”  

Request the full testing report

You can request the full independent AIR XS testing report by following the link below.

The importance of reading the room

The importance of reading the room

When it comes to occupational health and safety, new real-time dust monitoring such as the XD ONE Portable Dust Monitor can help to make decisions for the hierarchy of controls. 

In this e-book we explain how the arrival of affordable, real-time monitoring, and both wearable and portable dust monitoring technologies promote this new awareness of the dangers of dust in a far broader range of working environments. 

Employers and the health and safety community are now shifting their attention. Where they’ve traditionally focused on safety, they now look at the major impacts on long-term health associated with working in hazardous environments. 

There’s also an increasing awareness of the range of industries that can present long-term health hazards through the inhalation of dangerous dust particles, from traditional industrial environments to commercial activities. 

The HSE are reporting an estimated 1.4 million people in the UK report ‘lung or breathing problems that were caused or made worse by work’ – and whilst it’s great that people are starting to pay more attention to this issue, there’s plenty of room for improvement. 

Whilst financial costs of lung diseases effect both businesses and individuals, respiratory diseases are more than just an economic drain. It’s a personal tragedy, and there are a whole raft of occupations and jobs where people are exposed to dangerous dust across the world. 

However, through the hierarchy of controls, businesses can determine the most effective solutions in order to keep workers protected from dangerous dust exposure. 

Knowing that dangerous dust exists, knowing its effects are potentially lethal, and knowing that the damage it causes is preventable, only takes you so far. Knowing how to prevent that harm is what matters, and this is how the hierarchy of controls can help businesses become more efficient, by understanding how effective each method is in benefitting the workforce. 

Fortunately, new accurate, real-time, fixed, wearable and portable dust and silica monitoring sensors are leading the detection charge across every use case. By precisely reading the real-time dust load in any given environment, and the enemy now ‘visible’, businesses can begin to apply the hierarchy of controls in a far more meaningful way. 

XD ONE vs other dust monitors on the market

An independent UK agency responsible for the encouragement, regulation and enforcement of workplace health, safety and welfare, and for research into occupational risks in Great Britain, carried out a series of tests on three XD One Portable Dust Monitor units. 

They compared them to the following dust monitors: Casella CEL-712 Microdust Pro, a Thermo Scientific MIE Personal DataRam (pDR) 1500, a TSI SidePak AM510. 

The key elements of the testing were as follows: 

  • Tests were carried out in a calm air chamber. 
  • The tests used Arizona road dust, the industry standard for accuracy measurements and calibration. 
  • Fixed Concentration tests were performed at 2 mg/m³, 5 mg/m³ and 11 mg/m³. 
  • Stepped Concentration tests were performed moving from 2 mg/m³ to 5 mg/m³ and finally to 11 mg/m³. 
  • Simultaneous readings were taken using laboratory grade gravimetric sampling (TIOM and GK 2.69) to provide baseline accurate data from which to compare the portable units.

The results from the independent testing demonstrated that the XD ONE performs better than other personal dust monitors on the market. There were five critical messages from the testing as outlined below: 

  • The XD ONE performs as well as or better than the rival products in accurately monitoring for respirable dust. 
  • The tests found that the XD ONE unit’s performance was consistent between the XD ONE units, demonstrating that the good performance was consistent and repeatable. 
  • The XD ONE was consistent with laboratory grade gravimetric sampling units (the current industry standard, and often regulated methodology) at the tested dust levels. 
  • The XD ONE also performed as well or better than competitor products in ‘stepped-tests’ where the dust concentration was changed over time. 
  • The XD ONE is smaller, lighter, less fiddly and a single self-contained unit. 

2.12 billion reasons to look after your staff and customers

A sign of things to come.

Despite the protests of Johnson and Johnson, who played the indignation card at a “fundamentally flawed trial, grounded in a faulty presentation of the facts.”

The verdict is “[at] odds with decades of independent scientific evaluations confirming Johnson’s Baby Powder is safe, does not contain asbestos and does not cause cancer,” they quibble.

$2.12 billion in damages tells another story.

That’s what a Missouri court ordered Johnson and Johnson pay to women suffering ovarian cancer caused by asbestos in its baby powder and other talc products. Litigation that looks like just the beginning.

Not just for Johnson and Johnson, who now face21,800 lawsuits claiming that its talc products cause cancer because of contamination from asbestos, a known carcinogen,’ but also for the many employers the world over who fail to properly protect their workers from preventable disease.

Preventable disease

Sarah Jardine, HSE’s chief inspector of construction says: “Around 100 times as many workers die from diseases caused or made worse by their work than are actually killed in construction accidents.”

In the UK alone, 14,000 people a year die prematurely from largely preventable disease caused by the inhalation of respirable dust in the workplace.

Preventable because there’s no excuse for remaining ignorant of the potentially fatal consequences of exposure to dangerous microscopic airborne dust particles.

If you’re serious about running a business you need to be serious about protecting your people

While lack of awareness has certainly been a problem in the past, now, with plenty of readily available research, public health messaging and examples of high-profile litigation, there’s simply no reason for companies to ignore their responsibilities,

Especially following new advances in dust measurement technology.

So not only is ignorance (still) an illegitimate excuse, with new real-time dust monitoring technology that provides you and your workers with real time and highly accurate dust readings in any working environment, so, too, is blaming a lack of suitable technology.

Put simply, if you’re serious about running a business you need to be serious about  protecting people from the dangers of dust inhalation that surround them. Serious about both understanding those dangers  and then putting the measures in place to mitigate them.

And as if the moral obligation wasn’t enough, the commercial implications are enormous, too; as Johnson and Johnson are discovering.

The cost of complicity

There’s more to worry about than the obvious bottom line legal costs and compensation. You need to consider the reputation costs in the form of lost business opportunities and even share price, insurance premium hikes, loss of production or reduced output, sickness cover and pay, and the lack of future legal and financial protections. All the many, undesirable and inevitable consequences of being exposed as negligent. The last thing any business needs or wants.

All you need to know…

Are you still unclear about the extensive danger of dust? Or do you already realise the danger, want to do something about it but are unsure how real-time dust monitoring technology can help you?

Either way feel free to get in touch. We’ll tell you the many ways that we help businesses across all sorts of sectors, all over the world. Everything you need to know about protecting your workers from the threat of disease, and your business from the threat of litigation. And all its damaging implications.