Gas Hazards in Cement Production

For centuries, cement has played a crucial role in shaping our cities, with its impact evident in every corner. The world requires over 4 billion tons of this material annually. The demand for it continues to increase.

Cement comes from readily available materials and its manufacturing cost is fairly low. Creating things can be risky as it releases harmful gases that can harm workers, nearby people, and the environment.

Heat and Raw Materials

Making cement involves heating materials like limestone and clay in large kilns that can get scorching. This heat causes chemical reactions that turn the materials into cement, but it also releases harmful gases like:

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2): The cement industry is a major contributor to global CO2 emissions, responsible for a staggering 8%. This CO2 originates from two sources:
  • Calcination: Limestone decomposes at high temperatures, releasing CO2 and calcium oxide.
  • Using natural gas or coal in kilns increases CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
  • NOx, gases from high-temperature combustion, harm air quality and cause acid rain.
  • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) is in cement materials, adding to air pollution.

Health Risks:

  • CO2: High concentrations of CO2 can displace oxygen, leading to health problems.
  • NOx: Exposure to NOx can irritate the lungs and exacerbate illnesses like asthma.
  • SO2: Sulphur dioxide irritates the lungs and can contribute to acid rain, damaging ecosystems.

Cement production produces other gases that include:

  • Dioxins and furans (PCDD/F)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)
  • Benzene,
  • Toluene
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Xylene (BTEX)
  • Gaseous inorganic chlorine compounds (HCl)
  • Gaseous inorganic fluorine compounds (HF)
  • Lead

Risk reduction.

Fixed-point-detectors should be in place at key site areas to ensure worker safety and environmental compliance. Workers operating within confined spaces should use portable gas detectors where required.

We offer complete solutions for fixed gas systems and portable gas detection. Contact our engineers for more information.


This blog discusses how gas is released during cement production and is based on an original article by Crowcon.

Written by Len Bridgeman

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