[Clayart] Elizabeth's cough

Douglas Fur 23drb50 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 15 03:03:56 EDT 2016


In my experience allergic coughs are  related to organic materials. Around
a pottery this might  be mold or mildew spores. I've developed
sensitivities to red cedar, mahogany and wheat by exposure to them as dust.
This type of cough tends to be in the "top of the lungs". The drying effect
of clay can irritate this kind of cough.

Clay and silica can invade the lungs and because their particles are too
fine to be moved out by the usual  processes of expulsion,   coughing and
mucus being moved out by scillia, they tend to build up. The body responds
by surrounding them in nodules of scar tissue. The scar tissue can't absorb
oxygen so as the nodules increase you lose lung capacity. This is the
process that leads to silicosis and kaolinosis.
This sort of cough is lower in the lungs and the minerals will show up in a
chest x-ray. I found that I could get a cheap chest x-ray through our
county health department. Their many function is to screen for TB and
industrial health hazards. I found they were very skilled. The tech I
worked with could point out the nodules in my lungs and assess that they
weren't bad yet (on the industrial scale of exposure) but wouldn't get
better  if I didn't reduce my dust exposure.

I visited a community studio recently and one guy there was wearing a mask.
He got it. In your own studio I think it's important to work wet to control
the dust before it gets to level which requires a mask. By working wet I
mean to never work with dry clay inside. Work with wet clay, water for
cleaning and a spray bottle of water to control dust when sweeping. There
has been good discussion of vacuum systems and filters here that you can
find in the archives.

This is based on my experience. My question to you is; if have reached a
level of concern about your cough to mention it here does that mean it's
time to talk to your healthcare provider too?

Seola Creek
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