Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dangerous Dust: Health Risks of Haboobs

Haboob Dust Storm by Hines Photography
Haboob Dust Storm a photo by Hines Photography on Flickr.

Are you aware of the dangers and health risks associated with Arizona's summer haboobs?

These massive dust storms carry Valley Fever spores, mold, fungus, bacteria, chemicals, and more! The dangers arise because the particles are so fine. They are so tiny that our body's natural defenses in the nose and throat can't stop them and they get inhaled and trapped in the lungs. This increases risks of both short term and long term illnesses to the respiratory system including Valley Fever, bronchitis, emphysema, asthma, allergies, etc.

Haboob by Todd_Moy, on Flickr
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Here are some precautions you can take to deal with dangerous dust from haboobs:
  1. Stay Indoors. Avoid exposure to big dust storms. Stay inside until the storm has passed and the dust settles. Children and pets are at risk too -- keep them inside!
  2. Duck & Cover. If you do get caught outside during the storm, cover your nose and mouth. Use a mask, article of clothing, or anything available to reduce the inhalation of harmful dust particles. Seek shelter as quickly as possible.
  3. Clean It Up. Wash off your driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, patios, and outdoor furniture to avoid tracking dangerous material into your home or business.
The risks are real. But don't take our word for it. Check out these additional resources regarding haboob health risks:

Haboobs' Health Dangers at Banner Health Services
Exceptional Dust Storm at the AZ Dept. of Health Services Director's Blog
Haboob may lead to lasting health problems at News 4 Tucson (
Researcher studying health risks of haboobs at Arizona Daily Star

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North American Pressure Wash Outlet said...

Wow! What an interesting blog entry. Fortunately, in my portion of the US, we don't have this situation. But it's another good example of the uses of a pressure washer.


Josh Davis said...

This is a very interesting post. i didn't realize that haboobs were so dangerous! wilmington nc pressure washing