As Californians have discovered via our own overzealous regulators
rouge is a health hazard. You now need a licensed hazmat hauler and
processor to refine your gold.
Of course, there is no dust or metal fume that is healthy to inhale.
The point is not to change polishing material, as the copper, zinc
and nickel in the jewelry you polish is a hazard if inhaled. Skin
exposure is best avoided as well, but this is far less risky.
Because of the sheer value, jewelers often control the polishing
dust very well already. We do tend to keep our dust collectors
working very well. It's funny that we protect our wallets ahead of
our lungs.... Heck our industry (A now defunct MJSA Taskforce) taught
the California regulators years ago how material control is really
I used to collect this dust, by cleaning out the dust collectors for
our customers. I know a few tricks to keep the dust down, like a
water spritz onto the dust to keep it from getting airborne. I always
used a respirator filter mask (not just those cheap paint store dust
masks that do not fit well). After you used the lever that knocks the
dust from the filter down into the collection bin, walk away for a
while to allow your (perhaps $100 per pound value) dust to settle.
Then handle it slowly, use the water spritz, and then send it to a