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kellaro


Feb 8, 2008, 10:33 AM
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Exposure to climbing chalk
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Is anyone aware of any research that examines the potential health risks of the long-term exposure to inhaling/ingesting magnesium carbonate?

Thoughts, opinions?


itstoearly


Feb 8, 2008, 10:40 AM
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Re: [kellaro] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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You must be referring to the white lung.


skinnyclimber


Feb 8, 2008, 10:46 AM
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Re: [kellaro] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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kellaro wrote:
Is anyone aware of any research that examines the potential health risks of the long-term exposure to inhaling/ingesting magnesium carbonate?

Thoughts, opinions?

OPINION:

I don't think inhaling small amounts of chalk dust will do much damage to you. On the other hand inhaling particulate matter emitted from coal power plants and other such pollution sources has been shown to cause cancer and asthma. My guess is that there are less harmful components in the chalk dust but who really knows?

This could be interesting to know...

FACT:

Getting chalk dust in your eyes sucks in a big way and can lead to tearing and "less attentive belaying". ie if you can't see out one eye and that eye hurts from chalk dust in it, you are a bit distracted (although in my experience no danger to the climber has resulted, the belayer's job just sucks more)


AeroXan


Feb 8, 2008, 10:53 AM
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Re: [kellaro] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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inhaling any kind of particulate matter is usually bad long term. long term irritation of the lungs can lead to problems. I don't know if chalk in particular can be bad. some particles can be carcinogenic in the lungs. unless chalk has some harmful property, it's probably no worse than breathing in dust. I would say just avoid doing lines of chalk or unnecessarily huffing it.


camhead


Feb 8, 2008, 11:03 AM
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Re: [AeroXan] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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day after day for years in a poorly ventilated indoor bouldering cave may have some bad effects. otherwise, I doubt it.


guanoboy


Feb 8, 2008, 11:05 AM
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Re: [kellaro] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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MgCO3 is a fairly insoluble salt, but it will dissolve to some degree in water and in slightly acid conditions it should form Mg ions (a micronutrient) and bicarbonate (HCO3-). As an aside this bicarbonate may help buffer any lactic acid buildup that may be occurring during the workout. I'm not sure how quickly or how much chalk will dissolve in the lungs, but my guess is that the lungs are slightly acidic b/c the CO2 will form a weak acid in solution and help the above reaction allowing Mg to be absorbed into the blood. This dissolution, I'm guessing would prevent lung damage b/c it is the physical irritation of a particulate that causes problems (asbestos also punctures tissues initiating a damage response in lung tissues - scarring).

This is from a biology/chemistry perspective. Any second opinions from medical doctors out there?


(This post was edited by guanoboy on Feb 8, 2008, 11:56 AM)


kovacs69


Feb 8, 2008, 11:30 AM
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Re: [kellaro] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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After all the years I have spent in a gymnastics gym with poor filtration I would have to say you will not have any problems with exposure to chalk. I know many, many coaches that have been around longer than my 38 years and they have no problems.

It is commonly used as a laxative, Milk of Magnesia, and as an antacid, Tums.

We have joked about white lung disease for a long time in the gymnastics community.

JB


(This post was edited by kovacs69 on Feb 8, 2008, 11:35 AM)


Partner cracklover


Feb 8, 2008, 12:11 PM
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Re: [guanoboy] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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guanoboy wrote:
MgCO3 is a fairly insoluble salt, but it will dissolve to some degree in water and in slightly acid conditions it should form Mg ions (a micronutrient) and bicarbonate (HCO3-). As an aside this bicarbonate may help buffer any lactic acid buildup that may be occurring during the workout. I'm not sure how quickly or how much chalk will dissolve in the lungs, but my guess is that the lungs are slightly acidic b/c the CO2 will form a weak acid in solution and help the above reaction allowing Mg to be absorbed into the blood. This dissolution, I'm guessing would prevent lung damage b/c it is the physical irritation of a particulate that causes problems (asbestos also punctures tissues initiating a damage response in lung tissues - scarring).

This is from a biology/chemistry perspective. Any second opinions from medical doctors out there?

That sounds totally reasonable (not that I have any qualifications). But I know they also add other agents to the chalk. There may be minerals in some brands that are non-soluble that could conceivably build up.

GO


no_email_entered


Feb 8, 2008, 4:22 PM
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Re: [cracklover] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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my chalk was made in China for metolius.
how pure do you think it be?
(cough cough)


jmvc


Feb 9, 2008, 1:50 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
guanoboy wrote:
MgCO3 is a fairly insoluble salt, but it will dissolve to some degree in water and in slightly acid conditions it should form Mg ions (a micronutrient) and bicarbonate (HCO3-). As an aside this bicarbonate may help buffer any lactic acid buildup that may be occurring during the workout. I'm not sure how quickly or how much chalk will dissolve in the lungs, but my guess is that the lungs are slightly acidic b/c the CO2 will form a weak acid in solution and help the above reaction allowing Mg to be absorbed into the blood. This dissolution, I'm guessing would prevent lung damage b/c it is the physical irritation of a particulate that causes problems (asbestos also punctures tissues initiating a damage response in lung tissues - scarring).

This is from a biology/chemistry perspective. Any second opinions from medical doctors out there?

That sounds totally reasonable (not that I have any qualifications). But I know they also add other agents to the chalk. There may be minerals in some brands that are non-soluble that could conceivably build up.

GO

Guanoboy's reasoning sounds good for the pure MgCO3, but they certainly do add extra substances.. However I hope that manufacturers realize that a small amount of chalk is going to be inhaled and don't put anything that noxious in the mix...

So, unless you chalk up excessively and constantly huff the stuff in, I'd worry more about walking down the main street of most cities..


drjghl


Feb 9, 2008, 7:15 AM
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Re: [kellaro] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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Can you say "pneumoconiosis"

The processes that lead to disease are complicated. Genetics, type of exposure (what are you inhaling, adulterants), burden (quantity and duration of exposure), comorbidities (do you also have asthma), reserve (if you lose part of a lung, you'll be fine), and so forth.

I would guess that if you inhaled lots of chalk very frequently for years, can't be good. But who knows.

Just because it's not reported as a disease, doesn't mean "climber's lung" does not exist.

And just because people who have breathed in lots of chalk say they feel fine, does not mean that they don't have subclinical lung disease.

Can you tell that I'm bored.


stymingersfink


Feb 9, 2008, 7:59 AM
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Re: [drjghl] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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drjghl wrote:
Can you say "pneumoconiosis"
No.


GeneralBenson


Feb 9, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Re: [stymingersfink] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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I used to have bad asthma, which has since turned into mild asthma. Everyone once in a while, if there's alot of chalk in the air, it'll start to bother my lungs, and I'll have an small attack. I was at the Spot the other week, and it was insanely busy, and then the obligatory chalk cyclone boyscout group came in to boot. You could literally see chalk in all the air, everywhere. It was like being in fog. But the magical kind of fog that dries your hands. Anyways, it gave me a hard time breathing. I kept climbing, I just breathed less. Problem solved. But that is really just chalk triggering a pre-existing condition, not creating one.


Partner angry


Feb 9, 2008, 9:05 PM
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Re: [GeneralBenson] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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I'm not worried about the particulates in my lungs.

Another thing I'm not worried about that could be associated is the common cold. I've heard teachers who have whiteboards get sick less than those with chalkboards. The reasoning is that the cold virus can attach itself to chalk particles.

I've heard no research on that, it kinda sounds like BS.


Go-Devil


Feb 10, 2008, 6:19 AM
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Re: [angry] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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Calk or MgCO³ isnt harmfull in any way, however it will clogg your nose and lungs if you inhale alot of it... I just try to use it in very small amounts, research has even proved that the use of chalk causes a lower grip then dry clean hands... however greasy hands are even worst ... so i just try to clean my hands as often as possible on a climb, if possible with water or moist cloth and otherwise chalk...


matterunomama


Feb 10, 2008, 7:31 AM
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Re: [camhead] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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A lot of coomon things are dangerous. For example:

http://avogadro.chem.iastate.edu/MSDS/caffeine.htm

The first warning is: !Harmful if swallowed!

And of course the horrors of Dihydrogen Monoxide
http://www.dhmo.org/


(This post was edited by matterunomama on Feb 10, 2008, 7:34 AM)


ja1484


Feb 10, 2008, 7:38 AM
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Re: [kellaro] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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Easy solution: Climb outside.


rec8er


Sep 24, 2012, 7:04 AM
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Re: [kellaro] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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I am very concerned about this issue! I teach College students many want to work long-term in Outdoor Programs at Universities. The reporting of white snot, coughing, asthma troubles and the scare of "white lung". I have been researching this issue and have found no study to date. I think if you work in this environment masks should be worn when cleaning wall materials, get fresh air every hour, and try to create a work place environment where you are not inside chalk filled rooms (i.e. move check in location to a chalk free zone if possible).
While chalk does have some questionable negative effects (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (2010). International Chemical Safety Cards on Magnesium Carbonate Retrevied from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/ipcsneng/neng0969.html ).
No loose chalk in walls suggested also. Basically, we don"t know, so be careful!


billcoe_


Sep 25, 2012, 3:41 PM
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Re: [rec8er] Exposure to climbing chalk [In reply to]
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Anything worth saying once is worth repeated endlessly.

billcoe_ wrote:
Try to minimize the use of the stuff and that way I won't have to breath your chalk dust.

For years no one thought that the dust in a coal mine was a health issue. Long term studies of chalk hasn't been done, and you won't know until it's too late, so why not go easy on the stuff now?

That's my approach.


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