The Real Cost of Dust in Your Carpark

The Real Cost of Dust in Your Carpark

High-rise and large parking complexes are commonplace throughout Sydney. And they need to be because commuters and city residents require secure locations for their cars. While they are obviously a necessity, these car parks can pose a health hazard, thanks to the impact of dust.

It’s well known that dust is dangerous on building sites and undesirable in the home, but the effects of dust in car parks aren’t as oft-discussed. Thankfully, there has been some research into the matter, with concerning findings.

What is dust doing to your customers?

If you manage or own a large parking complex, it’s important that you understand the risks that dust poses, and how best to negate these risks and thereby, protect your customers from harm.

The primary concern when it comes to dust particles in enclosed spaces is the health of anyone exposed. There are a few different kinds of dust and chemicals to be wary of, and each of these can impact the health of your customers and employees.

Silica dust in concrete car parks

Silica dust is a byproduct of concrete. This naturally occurring material is used in the mixing process, meaning that it’s present in virtually every concrete structure, including high-rise car park complexes. While the biggest risks associated with silica dust come on a building site, concrete can keep shedding silica dust well into the future.

Concrete floors, walls, ceilings, and pillars will produce dust over time, and much of this will be tiny silica particles, which are easily airborne. What’s more, if concrete cracks or degrades due to continued friction (such as cars rolling over broken spots), the risk of silica dust seeping out and into your car park is much higher. And this is bad news for anyone exposed to it.

Regular inhalation of silica dust can cause a condition called silicosis, which is an incurable lung disease that progresses over time. Silicosis will inevitably affect breathing and can lead to cancer and emphysema, and is ultimately fatal. Therefore, it’s critical that you engage a Sydney car park cleaning service regularly, to eliminate the risk of silicosis as much as possible.

If you have broken or worn concrete in your complex, it’s very important to repair these spots quickly, by replacing or sealing the degrading concrete.

Brake dust

Brake dust is one of the key components of the particles that will inevitably inhabit your parking complex. Every time one of the vehicles rolling through your carpark brakes, dust is created through the friction between the iron brake rotor and the brake pads, which slows the car.

Recent studies in the UK have concluded that 55% of the pollution found by the roadside is made up of particles that do not originate from the exhaust pipes of vehicles, but rather other sources. What’s more, 20% of this pollution consists of brake dust. You may be thinking ‘So what?’. 

Well, these figures matter because brake dust can be as harmful to our lungs as the exhaust fumes that emanate from cars and trucks.

These particles can enter the macrophages, which are the cells in our lungs that clear out germs and unwanted bacteria. When these particles do enter the macrophages, they cause inflammation and reduce the lungs’ ability to fight off bacteria. Research indicates that in the long run, exposure to this brake dust may contribute to chest infections, sore throats, and more serious respiratory conditions.

The materials that make up modern braking mechanisms are metals like iron, titanium, and magnesium. When metallic particles enter the lungs under any circumstances, whether that’s in a parking lot, on the roads, or a building site, these particles will cause irritation. And in this case, these brake dust particles were found to be as toxic as diesel particles. 

In the confines of a parking complex, where airflow may be minimal or even non-existent, the risk of inhaling this dust is exponentially higher. And in the end, that means that your customers will be at risk. It’s clear that at this point, brake dust is simply unavoidable in Sydney car parks. Until braking technology develops to the point where dust is either negligible or non-existent, this risk factor will be present.

Therefore, regular cleaning for your Sydney car park is critical, to reduce the amount of dust in the complex and thereby protect those using your facility.

Coal tar chemicals

Emerging evidence has shown that coal tar, used to seal roads and paths around the country, presents a significant risk, particularly when it comes to long-term exposure. And unfortunately, young children are especially vulnerable to these chemicals.

The dust and chemicals that emanate from coal tar can have a serious impact on the health of people traversing and using your facility, as well as those living nearby. A study conducted in Austin, Texas, found that ground floor apartments next to coal-tar-sealed parking complexes had polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) pollution levels 25 times higher than those living next to other lots. PAHs have been proven to be toxic to birds, fish, amphibians, plants, and mammals, including humans.

Thankfully, the use of coal tar as a sealant has decreased dramatically in recent years, particularly in larger parking complexes.

How is it affecting vehicles?

Dust in your parking complex isn’t just a health risk; it can actually impact the integrity of vehicles in several ways. These particles, no matter the makeup, can clog air filters and restrict airflow to the engine. That can result in overheating, loss of lubrication, and other internal damage. 

Dust particles can also impact the quality of engine oil, affecting other functions of the vehicle. As the manager or owner of a Sydney car park, it’s important to keep in mind that you should be providing an environment that is safe for both people and vehicles.

How do you combat the dust?

The only surefire way to combat dust in your complex is a regular Sydney car park cleaning service by Sydney Sweep and Scrub. We utilise the latest technology to sweep and scrub your car park, removing all manner of dust and other contaminants from your surfaces. When we’re finished, you can be sure that your customers and their vehicles will be enjoying a cleaner, healthier space.

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