The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-09-2003, 10:43 PM
TheOtherOne TheOtherOne is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Inahling rust...Tetanus?

I was sanding down some rusted steel CO2 tanks today at work, and realized that I had inhaled quite a bit of dust that consisted mainly of rust particles. I haven't been able to find any information regarding the dangers of this situation, and my tetanus shot is up to date, but how risky is this anyway?
"The harder you fall, Jack, the higher you bounce" ~Robert Hunter

"Democracy substitutes election by the incompetant many to appointment by the corrupt few"
Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2003, 10:51 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 24,716
Tetanus is caused by a bacteria that lives in soil and fecal matter. It doesn't live on rust, and contact with rust won't cause tetanus (there are other reasons you might not want to inhale rust particles). Also, I don't believe you can get tetanus from inhalation anyway, but only from contact with an open wound.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2003, 10:59 PM
dauerbach dauerbach is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Rust has nothing to do with tetanus. The rusty nail stuff started because that is indeed a decent way to innoculate yourself with tetanus spores. Being an anaerobe, a deep puncture wound is the best place for them to grow. Most nails you would step on have been on the ground for awhile and are rusty. Rust itself will not cause tetanus. Inhaling foreign materials is not a good idea however, next time use a mask.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2003, 11:48 PM
TheOtherOne TheOtherOne is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Ahhhh...I have been enlightened.

Case closed. Thanks.
Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2003, 08:19 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 39,959
Further, IIRC, tetanus is anaerobic (one reason it shows up in deep punctures). Even if you inhaled the spores, the oxygen in your lungs would kill it once it started to grow.
"East is East and West is West and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:42 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.