Face Masks

More Information
Dr David Bromwich is a professional occupational hygienist based in Brisbane and dabbles with gardening.


Gardening is clearly an activity many people love to undertake. With all the benefits of fitness, meditation and nature, there are also aspects of health and safety that need to be addressed. Wearing face masks when undertaking a number of garden tasks is a safe way to minimise harm to yourself and worries for your family.

There are many myths about how well face masks protect us from toxic dusts, chemical sprays, fungal spores and micro-organisms in the garden.

It is far better to use less toxic chemicals or use large droplet size sprays and/or spray on a non-windy day. For dusty materials it is better to work to minimise dusts than to rely on face masks.

Lung diseases from garden exposures can vary from ‘Farmer’s Lung’ caused by mould spores in compost and hay fever from pollens. Gardeners may get poisoned from inhaled chemical sprays, which may also enter the body through the skin and sensitive moist areas like the eyes. Potting mixes left in the sun have the potential to allow the explosive growth of the Legionella bacterium. Water dripping from hanging baskets has the potential to infect susceptible individuals when the drips shatter on the ground. Excreta from bats, rats and birds pose a threat of other diseases.

Topics covered include:

  • Fit and facial hair growth
  • Selection & storage


From a 4 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty One
Illustrating the pathways of entry and areas of effect as particulates enter the respiratory system.
Step 3 of 4 for fitting instructions of a safety mask.
A range of disposable particulate half-face masks. Supplied Courtesy of 3M.
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Garden Calendar
Arno King


After a wet summer and autumn throughout most parts of humid tropical and subtropical Australia, the winter months can be a great time to garden. Enjoy the cool drier days that are more conducive to heavy working activities and major construction.

The cooler temperatures and less intense sunlight mean that plants, particularly those in pots, need less moisture and are less inclined to wilt.

However as winter progresses, rainfall will generally decrease and can often stop – so keep an eye on soil moisture and water when necessary.
The best water reservoir is the soil, and this is a good time of year to mulch and incorporate moisture holding amendments such as humic acid (humates), organic matter (such as compost or manures) and minerals (such as zeolite) to enhance this water holding capacity.

Information is given for what to do in each of the months:

  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August

Special information is also provided for:

  • Vegetable planting schedule for May, June, July and August
    for subtropics and tropics
  • Annual planting schedule for May, June, July and August


From a 5 page Feature Article in Issue Thirty One
Trim down old stalks from ornamental gingers, such as Dimerocostus strobilaceus.
Talinum (Talinum fruticosum).
Flora’s Paintbrush / Tassel Flower (Emelia sonchifolia var. javanica).
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