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Silica dust hazard after demolition/renovation

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  1. #1
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    Default Silica dust hazard after demolition/renovation

    I hope this is the right forum for this, apologies if not.


    I just had my toilet renovated by a renovation company (they managed the project, engaged subcontractors, etc). We moved out while the work was being done as we're a family of 4 including 2 year old twins and it's a 1 toilet unit.


    The work involved taking up the existing tiles and grinding the old screed back to the slab. Obviously the contractor used woefully insufficient dust control measures as we came back to the whole apartment being covered in dust. For example our linen cupboard, which is at the opposite end of the hallway from the toilet, was full of dust even though the door was kept closed. Like, a pretty thick layer on everything inside including our towels and bedding.


    We've spent one night here since getting back and both my wife and I feel like we can feel the dust in our throats (although maybe that's just psychosomatic). We've started cleaning, but it's all over the kids' toys, the walls, kitchen utensils, etc. We're thinking of moving out to an AirBnB or hotel again, mostly because we're worried about the kids breathing the dust, but also because it'll be way easier for one of us to come back and deep clean the place without them under our feet.


    I feel like we're possibly just in a panic and overreacting, though, but I've read enough about respirable silica dust to be scared about this. Am I overreacting and wasting my money by moving out?

  2. #2
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    Keep on cleaning, use wet mopt, vacuum cleaner, wet rags. It's no different from being on a dusty dirt road or the beach when it is windy.
    Fear is the foundation of most government.
    John Adams

  3. #3
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    Run what you can through the washing machine, vacuum every surface possible. You might consider hiring an industrial style vacuum with decent filters for stone dust. Mop the rest or use a damp cloth. You just need to avoid getting what has settled airborne again. Basically follow Marcs advice. They have certainly managed to spread dust around for a single toilet

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnc View Post
    Run what you can through the washing machine, vacuum every surface possible. You might consider hiring an industrial style vacuum with decent filters for stone dust. Mop the rest or use a damp cloth. You just need to avoid getting what has settled airborne again. Basically follow Marcs advice. They have certainly managed to spread dust around for a single toilet
    Hi makebeernotwar. Don’t worry too much. Since you aren’t grinding the dust yourself, the risk is less that it will get into your lungs because there is much less air pressure.

    Vacuuming with a normal domestic vacuum will likely put some dust back into the air, so best to damp wipe and mop. As per JohnC, vacuums with a hepa filter might help - but the domestic ones aren’t completely sealed.

    if you do vacuum, you should ideally wear a P2 mask. And block around the doors so dust doesn’t travel to recently cleaned areas.

    But don’t worry. It’s not the same level of exposure or dangerous velocity as a tradie would experience.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by joynz View Post
    Hi makebeernotwar. Donít worry too much. Since you arenít grinding the dust yourself, the risk is less that it will get into your lungs because there is much less air pressure.

    Vacuuming with a normal domestic vacuum will likely put some dust back into the air, so best to damp wipe and mop. As per JohnC, vacuums with a hepa filter might help - but the domestic ones arenít completely sealed.

    if you do vacuum, you should ideally wear a P2 mask. And block around the doors so dust doesnít travel to recently cleaned areas.

    But donít worry. Itís not the same level of exposure or dangerous velocity as a tradie would experience.
    I guess we could also add this isn't the same silica content you get in the more dangerous manufactured stones, at worst it will cause a small amount of congestion or irritation that will soon clear. The P2 mask is quite adequate, a once off exposure to this form of dust will have no lasting harm. It takes prolonged exposure to cause damage.

  6. #6
    4K Club Member Marc's Avatar
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    I would add that calling back the contractor and demand a clean up, would be a normal reaction.
    Fear is the foundation of most government.
    John Adams

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