Glass has severe health implications on humans; the health issues related to include glass injuries that range from the mild forms of abrasion to life threatening lacerations.
The worst form of glass material is the crushed glass that has considerably mild to fatal effects on health; it can cause more risk on sensitive areas of both humans and animals body (Lister, 2012). Glass can affect sensitive organs like the eyes and respiratory system if one is exposed to massive amounts. Glass damages areas like feet if a person steps on them barefoot or when wearing thin and unsupported footwear. Glass that is coarsely crushed can cause lacerations to the esophagus if swallowed; it does not only damage the throat but it also damages the gastrointestinal tract that may result to slow bleeding in the throat (Lister 2012). This might result to health complications such as internal bleeding and anemia caused by excessive bleeding.
Crushed glass can irritate the eyes if it is crushed into very fine powder that can be blown away by the wind. The skin can also be potentially irritated by the crushed glass if there is enough moisture to cause rubbing (Lupica, 2011). Crushed glass once swallowed is described as a simple irritant and so far there is no evidence that suggests repeated exposure can cause increased health risks. Occupational health risks in glass manufacturing industry is related to the presence of fine airborne crushed materials; broken glass and flying glass particles which are common risk factors in glass manufacturing, and should be prevented by use of safety glasses for workers and visitors (IFC 2007).
A person might incur severe cuts that arise from flat glass breaks during handling and transportation; this form of injury can be very severe because the cuts might be considerably deep. Crushed glass when inhaled can cause injury to pulmonary tissues as well as other types of cancer including renal carcinoma mesothelioma. (Lupica 2011). The inhaled particles can also irritate the mucous membranes and might also cause bronchitis-like symptoms discolored phlegm (Paventi, 2011).
The workers of glass industry should be provided with long aprons and a head gear when handling glass or glass material. Glass is non-biodegradable; therefore, disposing it causes environmental pollution and poses other dangers to the environment. This is because glass does not decompose therefore, might form water catchment areas. Disposing of glass products can take a variety of methods depending on the type of glass (Waverly 2012)
People working with or around glass materials like crushed glass are highly advice to take the necessary safety precautions such as wearing goggles and gloves to avoid the potential injuries when working with broken or crushed glass. A person affected or injured should seek medical attention though most of the effects experienced are not life threatening immediately. Injury risk can be minimized by automation of flat-glass handling and provision of cut resistant gloves.
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