Pharmaceutical Dust

Controlling the spread of pharmaceutical dust is part of Current Good Manufacturing Process (CGMP) and requires pharmaceutical dust control. A properly designed pharmaceutical dust collection system should be able to capture dusts generated at tablet presses, blending operations, tablet coating and granulating stations to prevent cross contamination. There are many benefits to using a dust collection system to capture Pharmaceutical dust;

  • Prevent cross contamination
  • Minimize facility clean up time
  • Protect electronics and motors from dust accumulation
  • Minimize workmen’s compensation liability
  • Minimize legal liability from employee law suites
  • Protect life and property from potential fire of explosion
  • Comply with OSHA regulations
Pharmaceutical Machinery in the Laboratory.

Many of the dusts in the pharmaceutical industry are very fine powders. They can be highly toxic and have very low exposure thresholds in their raw form.  Capturing these dusts requires a properly designed system.  Customized hoods and extraction arms are used to provide source capture. Setting capture velocities takes an understanding of the process where dust is generated. You also want to understand the employee interaction with the operation generating the dust. Once the capture velocities are established we can design a duct system to convey the dust through the duct system.

Duct system in Pharmaceutical plant

The captured dust is conveyed through the duct system to the high efficiency dust collector. The collector removes the dust by passing the air through filter media. The type of filter media is selected based on the type of dust. The dust accumulates on the outside of the filter where it is eventually removed by a self-cleaning process. Clean air passes though the collector filter media and is sometimes passed through a secondary safety after filter. The secondary safety after-filter is located after the dust collector. So why would you need a secondary safety or HEPA filter?

Sometimes dust can bypass the filter media in the collector. Three scenarios this could take place:

1.) During the dust collector filter cleaning process compressed air is released into the cartridge filter media to push the dust off the filter. This creates a slight expansion of the filter due to the pressure. The expansion allows trapped particles in the filter to slip through. 

2.) The filter is not replaced properly and if not properly installed in the dust collector could allow a bypass leakage point for fine dust particulates to pass through.

3.) Should there be a rupture of the filter media, the secondary filter adds additional protection which is especially important if the air is being returned into the plant.   

Most pharmaceutical dusts are potentially explosive or present a combustible dust hazard. Having the dust tested is required under the NFPA 652 guidelines. Explosive dust requires the implementation of explosion prevention, explosion protection, fire prevention or all three. The local code official has the final say in what will be required.

Clean Air Company designs pharmaceutical dust collection systems based on current industrial ventilation guidelines. We install the dust collection system and provide service to maintenance your dust collection systems continuous operation.