Fumes, grit, dust, dirt—all have long been recognized as occupational hazards, their seriousness depending on their nature and how they assail the human body, by ingestion, absorption, inhalation, the last being considered the most likely to cause permanent damage. It would not be an exaggeration to state that National Insurance (Industrial Injuries) provisions, now contained in the Social Security Act, 1975, with all the regulations made to implement the law, had their birth in compensating victims of lung disease from inhalation of dust. Over the years, the range of recognized dust disease, prescribed under regulations, has grown, but there are other recognized risks to human life and health from dusts of various kinds, produced not from the manufacturing, mining and quarrying, &c. industries; but from a number of areas where it can contaminate and constitute a hazard to vulnerable products and persons. An early intervention by legislation concerned exposed foods, e.g. uncovered meat on open shop fronts, to dust and in narrow streets, mud splashed from road surfaces. The composition of dust varies with its sources—external, atmospheric, seasonal or interior sources, uses and occupations, comings and goings, and in particular, the standards of cleaning and, where necessary, precautions to prevent dust accumulation. One area for long under constant scrutiny and a subject of considerable research is the interior of hospital wards, treatment rooms and operating theatres.
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