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Thread: Chalk dust

  1. #1 Chalk dust 
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    Is there any potential harm involved with long term exposure to considerable quantities of chalk dust floating through the air, e.g. in classrooms etc.? Is the mechanism we use to (partially) purify our lungs from dust, coughing, sufficiently adequate to expel the particles in question, even if they are sustained daily? Or can a long term exposure have effects similar to the short term inhalation of fine particles (PM - being of course considerably smaller) and the likes?


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    Forum Senior Kukhri's Avatar
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    The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says that chalk is an irritant that can trigger an asthma attack. Younger children are more susceptible.

    Dustless chalk is available for the concerned. A paper from the journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (which I have not read, mind you) is titled: "Asthma Induced by Non-Powdered (Dust-Free) Chalk Containing Casein in a Milk-Allergic School Child" so I don't know how effective it is.

    Don't most schools use whiteboards now anyways?


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    I live in Europe and most of the schools here still largely make use of blackboards. (I suppose we're a bit more conservative in that matter.) I was only wondering whether daily inhalation of chalk dust could have any effect (however small) on the long term, seeing that most harmless things can develop into something severe due to the factor time. But, on second thoughts, I suppose that (chalk) dust particles are really too large to pose a great threat to our lungs. Is there anybody who would be able to contradict that?
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  5. #4  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I contradict you by stating that chalk dust is a good source of minerals for young children and teachers.

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    Surely the aim is not to please me, although I must admit that I was greatly amused at the terseness of your answer. The question is: is your claim scientifically grounded?

    Here I must add that my claim on the effects of chalk dust is also absolutely not scientifically grounded, which is the reason why I seek a scientific argument to refute it.
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Of course!

    wikipedia:

    Chalk (pronounced /tʃɔːk/) is a soft, white, porous sedimentary rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. It forms under relatively deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite plates (coccoliths) shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores. It is common to find flint and chert nodules embedded in chalk. Chalk can also refer to other compounds including magnesium silicate and calcium sulfate.
    I have proven that chalk contains minerals.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    ingestion does not necessarily equate digestion
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    Ca2+ isn't really known not to be ingested since it is everywhere in the body. So I would imagine it is at least partially digestible.

    You think calcite sticks together under acid conditions? I have no clue really.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard spuriousmonkey's Avatar
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    I.e. I think there should be more chalkdust in the classrooms because more and more carbonated soft drinks such as cola are consumed and there is no room for milk any more.

    This study demonstrates that over a 10-day period high intake of cola with a low-calcium diet induces increased bone turnover compared to a high intake of milk with a low-calcium diet. Thus, the trend towards a replacement of milk with cola and other soft drinks, which results in a low calcium intake, may negatively affect bone health as indicated by this short-term study.
    I suggest we replace the lack of milk intake with increased scribbling on the blackboard.

    And keep the windows closed.

    reference:
    Osteoporos Int. 2005 Dec;16(12):1803-8. Epub 2005 May 11.
    Short-term effects on bone turnover of replacing milk with cola beverages: a 10-day interventional study in young men.
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  11. #10  
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    The blackboard chalk used today isnt actuallyl chalk; its gypsum or calcium sulphate.
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  12. #11  
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    ay Caramba. They killed the plan.
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  13. #12  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Ca2+ isn't really known not to be ingested since it is everywhere in the body. So I would imagine it is at least partially digestible.

    You think calcite sticks together under acid conditions? I have no clue really.
    what i meant was, if the ingestion goes into the lungs, there won't be much digestion
    admittedly, you would expect chalk to fizz in stomach acid - not 100% sure about gypsum, but i suspect so, just to a lesser degree
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    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR
    Quote Originally Posted by spuriousmonkey
    Ca2+ isn't really known not to be ingested since it is everywhere in the body. So I would imagine it is at least partially digestible.

    You think calcite sticks together under acid conditions? I have no clue really.
    what i meant was, if the ingestion goes into the lungs, there won't be much digestion
    admittedly, you would expect chalk to fizz in stomach acid - not 100% sure about gypsum, but i suspect so, just to a lesser degree
    Well I suppose if you got sick of inhaling it you could simply eat it.
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    any particles of notible size will cause damage, they behave like miniature boulders in the lungs destroying tissues and it adds up after awhile
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    Two things; first drink lots of fluid. A well hydrated system will provide necessary moisture to the mucosal lining of the respiratory tract to help expel anything you breath. Second, I'd be more worried about what hithches along with the chalk dust than the chalk dust itself. For example, there are many pathogenic organisms that require an inflammatory immune response to establish an infection. If the chalk provides the irritant to induce inflammation, and a bacterium happened to be catching a ride on some of those dust particles, then you could be in for a nasty infection.


    If we lived our lives in fear of what organisms might infect us, then nobody would leave their homes, and we'd all be wearing hepa filters. So please don't be too alarmed at what I'm saying. I'm simply trying to add a layer of thought to your line of questions.
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  17. #16  
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    (I suppose we're a bit more conservative in that matter.) I was only wondering whether daily inhalation of chalk dust could have any effect (however small) on the long term, seeing that most harmless things can develop into something severe due to the factor time. But, on second thoughts, I suppose that (chalk) dust particles are really too large to pose a great threat to our lungs.
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