UQ develops tool to identify dust lung disease risk

9 January 2024
a closeup image of hands holding tweezers and a clear dish containing a paper-like disk with a black mark in its centre
Dust samples are collected on filters for analysis with UQ's Mineral Liberation Analyser.

A new dust testing methodology developed by University of Queensland researchers offers workers better protection from diseases such as black lung and silicosis.

Leader of the Dust and Respiratory Health Program at the Sustainable Minerals Institute Nikky LaBranche said the escalating prevalence of dust lung diseases, especially among young Australians, made the scientific community realise a new approach was needed.

“Exposure monitoring for dust and silica is currently based on the weight of particles but this overlooks many details that we are beginning to understand have significant health effects,” Ms LaBranche said.

“The methodology we have developed takes an in-depth look at particle characteristics such as size, shape, and mineral makeup, along with their potential to group together.


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