“Dust or airborne particulate matter (PM) varies in size. Total Suspended Particulate  (TSP) refers to dust less than 100 microns in diameter. Large particles tend to settle quickly, smaller more harmful particles can be carried great distances.  Dust is produced from blasting, crushing, screening and stacking operations as well as conveyor belts and loader and truck transport on site and trucks offsite.  Dust is also produced during overburden removal and construction of berms and from wind blowing over stock piles and across barren pit floors. …  Dust increases corrosion and is harmful to vegetation.

“Fine particulate matter, 10 microns or less in diameter (PM 10) can be inhaled and is considered toxic.  Smaller respirable particulate matter, (PM 2.5) with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, is even more dangerous, lodging deep within the lungs and tissue. There is no biological mechanism for clearing it from the body.

“There is incontrovertible evidence that increased PM 10 is related to increases in cardiopulmonary disease, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumoconiosis and premature death in those with pre-existing conditions.  The elderly and the young are most affected.  Crystalline silica dust is common from processing sand and gravel and is a known carcinogen.”

These paragraphs are extracted from a report by Ontario Gravel Watch.  There is no evidence that English gravel is any less dangerous than that from Canadian gravel pits and so this is very relevant to our concern.

In the light of these known hazards from gravel dust it is essential that evidence is available (perhaps from existing gravel quarries) of the extent to which PM 10 and PM 2.5 particles of crystalline silica dust can be expected to be found (say over the course of a year) at distances of say one, two and four kilometres from quarry workings, coupled with medical opinion on the hazards that will be likely


Ontario Gravel Watch: Dust from Gravel Pit/Quarry Operations
BCMOE, Environmental Quality Branch: Particulate Matter