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Magnesium: A Potential Combustible Dust Hazard in the Workplace


EMSL Analytical offers combustible dust testing solutions to help prevent workplace injuries and property destruction.
Cinnaminson, NJ, May 16th, 2012
Magnesium (Mg) is a chemical element and an alkaline earth metal.  It is one of the most common elements found in the Earth.  The free element is a highly reactive material that is not found naturally, but is used by today’s industry.
The material is one of the most commonly used structural metals.  It is used as a component of aluminum alloys, for die-casting and to remove sulfur during the production of iron and steel.  It is also used in many common electronic devices due to its light weight and preferred mechanical and electrical properties.  Magnesium compounds are used in a number of industrial processes and magnesium ion is necessary for biological life in all known living organisms.
Magnesium is also highly flammable when in a powdered state or when it has been shaved into thin strips.  Once it has become ignited it is difficult to extinguish and can even burn in water.  Temperatures from magnesium burning can reach over 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit and emit an exceptionally bright light. Due to these properties it is commonly used in marine flares and even fireworks.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) lists metal dusts from magnesium as a potential combustible dust hazard.  Regarding the element, OSHA reports that magnesium, “May spontaneously ignite on contact with air if finely divided or on heating. Reacts violently with oxidants and many other substances, causing fire and explosion hazard.”  
“Companies that process and utilize magnesium should have prevention measures and dust and ignition control measures in place,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President, Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc., a leading combustible dust testing laboratory.  “EMSL offers industry a number of combustible dust testing services for all types of materials for everything from resistivity to explosion severity analysis.”
EMSL recently sponsored an educational video about combustible dust hazards that can be seen at:
To learn more about combustible dust testing services please visit, call (800)220-3675 or email
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.


 combustible dust
 combustible dust testing

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