A Debt of Gratitude

While enjoying a few hours at the gun range, the Range Officer shared that he had been 27 months in theater in Afghanistan in special operations. He had been in three different vehicles blown up by improvised roadside mines. Seven of his ten patrol members were killed during this time. He broke his back, falling off a descent line out of a Chinook helicopter, and had qualified for three purple hearts. The doctor said he had the body of a man 20 years older than his actual age. Yet his enthusiasm for his time in the military, all 24 years, was palpable. He said, "I enjoyed every minute and would gladly do it all again."
Buffalo A1 MRAP Mine Detection Vehicle, Courtesy of Wikipedia
When he showed the photos of the destroyed vehicles, one of the three photos was a mine detection vehicle for which Sy-Klone International had provided the operator enclosure air intake system. I asked him what the air quality was like in the mine sweeper. He said it was pretty good. However, he said, "the fine dust permeated everything, even hermetically sealed things." The human lung is not hermetically sealed and is regularly put in harm's way. He had back surgery to fuse his spine and has hearing aids for his lost hearing. What he does not have is a new set of lungs. The dust created by exploding earth is respirable, which permeates deep into the lower lung tissue. The bigger problem for this retired marine has yet to manifest itself. We hope he never gets COPD, lung cancer, silicosis, etc. The reality for many working in environments regularly subject to ultra-fine dust is that they suffer the consequences of their exposure later in life.

His story reminds us of the importance of our efforts to engineer, build, and maintain operator enclosures that prevent over-exposure to ultra-fine dust.

We owe a debt of gratitude to those who protect our way of life. We pay that debt by addressing air quality engineering before the dust is flying. We have a role that requires doing right by those who put their lung health on the line to improve our lives. We honor them by doing what we do best, engineering acceptable air quality so they can enjoy a life free from preventable lower lung diseases.

Learn more by visiting ISEEE.net. Join us in the fight against lower lung diseases caused by workplace exposure to ultrafine dust.

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