dust extraction & containment
For pharmaceutical manufacturing processes

Containment solutions ensure that dust doesn’t escape during normal operation and routine maintenance

Created Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API´s) create a number of challenges for pharma manufacturers and their production processes. The API’s create very fine dusts and often high solvent concentrations during the product handling and manufacturing processes. This fine dusts pose the greatest risk to the worker’s health, with harmful particles being retained in the lungs. That´s why effective filtration is required combined with containment solutions to ensure the dust doesn’t escape during normal operation as well as during routine maintenance like filter changes or waste dust disposal. 

Dust extraction & containment

In general containment in a dedusting process means, to ensure that no harmful emissions, potent compounds and combustible dust gets out of the process, become airborne and enters the ambient air.
There are two key concerns which are critical when handling pharmaceutical dusts: the potent, toxic or allergenic properties of the compound as it relates to personnel exposure and the explosion properties of the compound.
The first issue involves understanding the toxicological properties of the handled materials, reviewing the occupational exposure limit (OEL) and performing a risk-based exposure evaluation to determine the methods for proper control. Secondly, the fugitive dust particles, which are often invisible to the eye, can create fire and explosion hazards when depositing on the machinery and other surfaces in the production.
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harmful substances & exposure risks

Controlling toxic and combustible dust is a common, yet serious, challenge when manufacturing or processing pharmaceutical and chemical products. Everyday processes like mixing, conveying, blending and tableting create dangerous dusts that become airborne if not captured, extracted and contained thoroughly.

The more potent the dust (OEB - Occupational Exposure Band), the lower the Occupational Exposure Limits (OEL) are set for personnel coming into contact with these materials. It is the employers’ responsibility to know and understand these exposure limits for each product they are using and take the necessary steps to ensure the limits are not exceeded, in order to protect their operators and the environment.  
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Containment solutions: how to protect operators, processes and the environment from harmful emissions

Especially in highly potent applications or in multi-product manufacturing facilities where cross-contamination is a concern, containment solutions are mandatory to ensure that dust doesn’t escape during normal operation as well as during routine service and maintenance work on the extraction system. Different options are available to mitigate exposure and explosion risks:
Full training and continuous refreshing of procedures is important and Camfil have a range of tools available for this.