Is Wood Dust Risky to Health?

Inhaling wood dust is a serious issue that is a cause of many woodworkers developing some kind of life changing conditions. Inhalation of wood dust is our main concern but digesting sanding dust can also be an issue. When wood dust enters the digestive system toxins can enter the bloodstream affecting our vital organs. Some conditions have recognised symptoms because of exposure to a dusty woodworking environment.

nasal-cancer-and-wood-workingNasal Cancer

The word we all dread when we wait for the results of any tests, ‘Cancer’. The paranasal sinus and the nasal cavity is at risk of malignant cancers developing. Known as ‘Squamous cell Carcinoma’ is a thin cell mutation which can grow through the nasal cavity producing sores and openings in the face.

After learning this I have changed my way of working. Realising that wood and sawdust especially Oak is a Group 1 Carcinogen this is a new knowledge for me. I have been working with wood most of my life and I like many joiners have taken unnecessary risks with my health.

How to reduce the risk of Nasal Cancer for woodworkers?

Potentially toxic dust is breathed into the nasal passage and sits on the mucous coated sinus and the nasal cavity. You can help lower the risk of the carcinogens entering your blood and cell. By washing your nasal passage with a netty bottle (nasal wash) filled with saline you can flush out toxins.

Sadly cancers are associated with the inhalation of wood dust. Wood dust inhalation contributes to paranasal 

How to reduce the risk of Nasal Cancer for woodworkers?

Potentially toxic dust is breathed into the nasal passage and sits on the mucous coated sinus and the nasal cavity. You can help lower the risk of the carcinogens entering your blood and cell. By washing your nasal passage with a netty bottle (nasal wash) filled with saline you can flush out toxins.

Sadly cancers are associated with the inhalation of wood dust. Wood dust inhalation contributes to paranasal 

occupational-asthma-results-from-woodworkOccupational Asthma

Wood dust can cause occupational asthma. We have to remember that the dust us woodworkers create can include allergens. These allergens can be manmade or natural fungal growths. The fungus produces spores and spores are a known irritant to our bronchial tubes.

It is not only natural elements but also a human intervention that is a problem. Like any negative human creation, resin-based products are not only irritants for asthma but also possible carcinogens. MDI (methylene diphenyl diisocyanate) is used for wood binding / laminating. The glues used to bond MDF and chipboard (particle board) are recognised as toxic to people. Woodworkers and cabinet makers need to take extra precautions when cutting or sanding these sheet materials. Because sheet materials are considered single-use and limited for upscaling the disposal is costly to our planet. Burning of such materials releases poisonous gas into the atmosphere along with carbon dioxide.

Asthma is an inflammatory disease that reduces lung function because of bronchial reaction to allergens. Woodworkers suffering from occupational asthma will have a feeling of tightness in the chess and problems breathing. Medication is normally in the form of medicinal inhalers or for more severe reactions a nebuliser.

Be safe and take preventative measures if diagnosed with ‘Occupational Asthma’

Occupational Asthma is a serious condition brought on by our working practices. Once diagnosed you will need to be extra prudent when working with dust.  Obviously, it would be preferential to change your profession to something less likely to trigger an ‘Asthma Attack’. But if you are not in the position to change your profession you should consider using air purifier masks such as a Trend Airshield.

wood dust machine planersLung Cancer

We all know somebody who has succumbed to the evil that is cancer. Wood dust exposure is recognised as a known carcinogen. Hardwoods are more dangerous than softwoods. Wood dust an associated cause of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Woodworking is a very precarious occupation that does not have any reliable dust exposure level records.

In woodworking, the production of fine wood dust differs from one woodworking task to another. Afterall sanding is the prime cause of uncollected wood dust. Sanding produces different grades of dust depending on the grit of the sandpaper used. The risk can be greatly reduced with the use of good dust extraction vacs.

Preventing woodworking induced Lung Cancer?

Woodworking produces a fine dust that becomes airborne. This dust can enter our lungs and linger in the bronchial ways. The prolonged exposure of carcinogenic wood dust is thought to contribute to the risk of lung cancer. It is thought that the risk is low but when you work 7 days a week for most normal people 5 days a week you are at more risk due to repeated exposure.  The use of a neti bottle does not help prevent lung cancer. 

To reduce the risk of lung cancer while working with wood it is all about prevention.  Prolonged inhaled exposure of wood dust over the course of your woodworking career can greatly reduce the risk of contracting this deadly disease. 

To state the obvious prevention is obviously better than cure.  If you are new to this wonderful woodworking career you should look to the future and take every precaution necessary.  Don’t Be a Fool like me and place your body into positions of great risk because of unprotected exposure to wood dust.

contact-dermatitis-and-wood-dust

Contact Dermatitis

Our bodies are covered with a self-healing flesh. Sadly our skin is not perfect thus it is susceptible to skin conditions. One common ailment to our skin is ‘Contact Dermatitis’ which I am prone.  Some people are born with this condition but others are sensitised to it. Prolonged exposure to Oakwood dust, for instance, is a known skin allergen. The Finnish institute examined a selection of woodworkers which were tested with a variety of timber dust. The wood in the Finnish research was: red cedar, pine, spruce, aspen, tropical teak, palisander, jacaranda, mahogany, walnut, punah and some common hardwoods.

These timbers contain oils and resins that can cause sensitivity resulting in dermatitis.

Preventing contact dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a very common condition which can sometimes be confused with eczema.  Contact dermatitis isn’t always very easy to avoid but not impossible. Obviously, the most common way of preventing contact dermatitis brought on by irritant wood dust is by wearing appropriate PPE ( personal protection equipment). This is the form of latex gloves or barrier creams.

The best way to prevent contact dermatitis is to prevent the dust from becoming airborne and landing on your workpiece.  The best form of prevention is air filtration and dust extraction systems but these will come at a price and sometimes it is not always cost-effective. I know some people say how do you put a cost on your life but sadly we don’t all live in the world where we have surplus money is to invest in expensive equipment. So the ideal solution, in my opinion, is to make changes in our work practices. This could be simple changes such as sanding your workpiece outside where the air to dust ratio is much greater instead of a confined workshop. 

Was it was a crazy suggestion but it is a very useful addition to any workshop to have a basic sink just with cold water.   when we go about our work we tender to get carried away and don’t wash toxins off of the skin as readily as we should. My point being is that if there is a convenient wash point such as a sink or Basin then you are more likely to use it to wash your hands and face after a sanding session or between.

Some people barrier creams may be the solution to prevent direct skin contact with wood dust.  this does not work because my dermatitis is aggravated by and produced by sheep called lanolin.  Many skin creams contain lanolin including well-known eczema cream E45. I’m not alone as many people are allergic to lanolin.  You may not be allergic to lanolin but lanolin is a sensitizer so there is a possibility that you could develop an allergic reaction to lanolin. I do not recommend barrier creams or a chemical that could enter our blood through contact. In my opinion, the best prevention of contact dermatitis is to remove the risk of contact by good work practices.

eye-traumaWood dust can damage your eyes

It is not only the inhalation of wood dust that is airborne from using woodworking machines but also the risk of eye damage. I have already this year had an emergency visit to the hospital for a particle which entered my eye.  Merely washing with an eyewash was not sufficient as they sharp wooden fibre penetrated the surface of the eyeball. 

The wearing of safety glasses or goggles is imperative if we are to reduce or remove the risk of eye damage.

Eye trauma is a very real risk to all woodworkers

Preventing eye trauma is actually quite easy a good pair of safety glasses can be the difference between you keeping your eyesight or losing it. it is so easy to take things for granted while working within the woodshop saying to ourselves, “well it is never gonna happen to me”.  this is a very silly attitude to take when we working environments that are susceptible to unpredictability. Pushing timber through the table saw and it pinches up on the back of the blade, the riving knife is too thin throwing the piece of wood back. The projectile potentially taking an eye out. In hindsight ‘if only I wore safety specs’, but then that moment of poor judgement has left me with only one eye. Hypothetically?

dry-eye

Dry eye syndrome

This common yet little talked about condition is nothing more than surface damage to the eye.  There are many factors that can cause dry eye syndrome.  

Here are some causes of dry eye syndrome:

  • Overuse of mobile phones and tablets
  • Excessive use of computer monitors
  • Working in a dusty environment
  • Exposing your eyes to the elements
  • Reduced tear production from the tear ducts

It is best to seek medical advice but from somebody who suffers from dry eye syndrome, I regularly use fake tears or eye drops.  some basic precautions can help such as Removing yourself from dusty environments. The use of moisture chamber glasses helps prevent the eye surface from drying out.  

Have you noticed that when you are using your mobile phone or tablet that you don’t blink as much?

If the cause for your dry eye syndrome is the overuse of computer screens or tablets then making an effort to blink regularly will help.

Preventing ‘Dry Eye Syndrome’

Surface damage to eyes can occur due to overexposure to fine airborne dust that lands on the surface of our eyes. This dust behaves a bit like flour and will absorb any moisture resulting in the surface to dry out somewhat. If this happens on a regular basis our tear ducts cannot produce enough tears to heal and repair the surface of the eye leaving a rough surface that can be seen with a special dye. This surface deterioration of the eyes is usually reversible but requires the woodworker to take precautions against our eyes from drying out.  routine use of sealed safety specs or goggles that prevent the dust from entering will help somewhat. A visit to the doctor can prescribe you some special eye drops to lubricate the eye surface. These drugs behave like fake tears and lubricate the eyes where the tear ducts are struggling to keep up. 

  • Simple precautions such as safety specs goggles but more impressively water chamber glasses are mechanical options of protection. 
  • Drops obviously will help and vitamin or ointment or speed up the healing process
  • Dry eye syndrome is not just a symptom of woodworking. In this modern lifestyle where we are regularly using screens, monitors, mobile phones or tablets these two can cause dry eye syndrome so the practice of remembering to blink or reducing consumption of mobile devices will certainly put us on the road to recovery.

Is wood dust a carcinogen?

Yes, wood dust is now considered a Group I carcinogen. A carcinogen affects our DNA causing mutations. Carcinogens held within wood dust can cause lung cancer.

Wood Dust can cause cancer?

wood dust in lung Xray

Wood dust is now considered a Group I carcinogen. A carcinogen affects our DNA causing mutations. Carcinogens held within wood dust can cause lung cancer.

Hardwoods are considered the most dangerous compared to softwoods.

What is Wood dust?

Wood dust is the by-product of the woodwork. Wood dust is either fine or coarse depending on how it has been produced. Wood sawdust not only makes course but also fine dust but the worst is most likely wood sanding dust.

Woodworking and the dangers of wood dust

As a woodworker who works in the workshop on a daily basis, the risks are high.  Writing this blog has opened my eyes somewhat in the risks which I take while performing my daily tasks in the workshop. 

What is the most dangerous wood dust?

Any wood dust is dangerous but some wood dusts are very toxic in larger quantities. At the bottom of this Blog is a list of timbers and their potential risks to health.

Preventing inhalation of wood dust?

A common-sense approach to the control of wood dust. 

Make a dust control method statement. Why? You may ask but making a ‘Method Statement’ often enlightens you into the bad practices. This can heighten your knowledge of the risks and simple changes that could help.

How do I stop inhaling dust?

To be honest, I admit it is probably a tall order but you can certainly reduce your risk of wood dust inhalation. 

We have to remember that wood dust will become airborne and we are at risk of breathing it in.cyclonic dust extraction for the workshop

You can reduce your inhalation of wood dust.

By making use of your tools dust extraction and a good dust extraction vacuum you can drastically reduce inhalation of wood dust.

You must be sure that your protection actually protects!

For any filtered protection you need to refer to the specification of the filter. The reason for this is that some timbers produce finer dust particles. For instance I fine that the dust from sanding walnut or cherry has more chance of getting past your filters that Oak or Pine.

A dust mask is imperative when all else fails

There are many situations where a dust mask has to be worn. Some woodworking practices have no possible way to collect dust efficiently. Hand sanding is a prime example of poor dust collection. 

But dust masks are uncomfortable!

Yes, this can be true and a pain when you have to wear all day. Simple paper masks are a compromise between a leaky mask and nothing at all. You could wear a 3M silicone mask with replaceable cartridges but I find these heavy and make your skin itch.

Neoprene carbon dust face mask

Neoprene dust masks are more comfortable than standard dust masks. These masks carry a carbon filter which helps to filter toxins.

ppe neoprene carbon dust mask and specs

Woodworking and dust control solutions?

Here I will try to give you some idea of the methods of dust control for each woodworking practice. Like I said before that it is best to control dust before it goes airborne. There are many dust extractor solutions but they all cost some money but you could just make some behavioural changes. 

A dust control system can be a per machine extraction vac or a central vac system.

Does workshop size matter?

Working in claustrophobic spaces will not just feel cramped but also concentrate on the issue of airborne dust pollution. Small workshops are at more risk than a large workshop from dust pollution. It stands to reason that smaller volume but with the same quantity of dust particles is more dangerous than in a large workshop.  Obviously the concentration of dust to air ratio is much higher in a smaller environment. If you work within a small workshop it will be prudent to complete any sanding tasks outside if the weather permits. Otherwise be sure to wear appropriate PPE (personal protection equipment) and duste extraction sytems installed. This can be in the form of collect dust at source such as tool extraction vacs.

Woodworking factories invest heavily in health and safety. Health and safety precautions for large companies are pretty much dictated to by their insurers. Risks to employees are minimised to employees. 

Small woodworking businesses don’t take much notice of the risks of wood dust containing carcinogens. Let alone making a report of the risks by making ‘Risk Assessments’ 

Dust extraction with woodworking machines best practices

spindle molder dust extractor

Modern woodworking machines have made huge advancements in dust collection. Virtually all machines have some form of dust control. Health and safety has played a huge part in enforcing the addition of dust extraction ports to our woodworking machines.

How good is dust extraction on woodworking machines?

Sorry to tell you that you will not be able to completely wipe out the inhalation of wood dust. It is always better to collect the wood dust at source but you have to be aware that some dust will escape into the atmosphere. Because of this fact, you must take secondary precautions such as the comfy dust mask!

How to switch on extraction vac?

A problem I have found with dust extraction is that remembering to turn on the vac when starting a machine. You have a few options but the best solution is an automatic load sensing switch. So when you turn on a machine the switch senses a voltage drop and turns-on the tool extraction vac. You can buy these switches as a separate unit on some tool vacs have one installed. It is possible to make a load sensing switch with an Arduino device.

How do we control dust when hand sanding?dust extraction chip bags

Using machines that have dust extraction ports connected to an extraction vac is preferable. When sanding by hand with a sanding block your dust collection options are limited to impossible. Where a good cartridge dust mask or a ‘Trend Airshield’ helmet. I vacuum table is a good investment when hand sanding.

Do dust extraction vacuums work?

Good dust extraction vacuums work well but not 100% efficient. Choosing a good wood dust extraction unit is not simply just a vacuum cleaner with an appropriate connection tool. The filtration systems differ greatly. The pleated paper dust filters that are found in most workshop-style vacuums do not have enough surface area to be effective.

Appropriate dust extraction vacuums aren’t particularly cheap but you do get what you pay for. If unlike me you’re a bit of a tool tart and want the best no matter the cost then I would recommend the Festool CTM36 AC PLANEX. This machine is aimed at the ‘Planex sander’ for fine dust and suited for dry lining filled joint sanding. For most of us need a good Tool dust extractor with synchronised power the Festool CTM 26 range is a great choice. 

‌Good value for money dust extractor vacuum cleaner is the Fein Dustex 25l Which is half the price of a Festool. Fein Are better known for their multi-tool which has become the industry standard. Fein also makes other power tools of high quality. 

For a dust extractor designed for use with a power tool, for‌ ‌instance, the electric sander.  it is a good idea and frankly, I must for the dust extractor to have at least one synchronised power socket.

What is a synchronised power socket?

A synchronised power socket is designed to turn on the vacuum dust extractor when your power tool is turned on.  The turning on of the power tool creates a voltage drop which the synchronised power socket circuit sensors and we operate the vacuum dust extractor with a small delay.  When you stop using your power tool and release the trigger a second or two later the vacuum dust extractor will turn off.

Do workshop air purifiers work?

As a way to clean the air once you have stopped working an air purifier can be an asset. 

Workshop air purifiers or air cleaner consist of a fan and a filtration system. Workshop air filtration systems should not be considered as the complete solution. It is always best to control dust at source but when some sanding dust escapes the dust extraction system an air purifier is a great way to improve the air. 

There are a few air purifiers available for the workshop some good some bad some mediocre.  Don’t expect an air purifier even if it is designed for the workshop to be the perfect solution.  The Microclene air filter that we have in our workshop uses a simple foam filter which can be cleaned out easily or even washed.  Other air cleaning systems contain cloth filters which are more efficient but clog much quicker. We also have an Axminster air purifier with this same system. 

Air purifiers like you would see in domestic environments or even the kind that you find in a bar or pub are not the same.  These air purifiers are designed to take average dust conditions and not designed for high throughput workshops.

There are other systems available such as electrostatic air purifiers.

Cyclonic Dust Deputy

Dust deputy is a brand of cyclonic dust collection afterthought retrofits. These are effective and almost prevents any dust getting back to the atmosphere. You can use almost any shop vac with a dust deputy. 

Working with old reclaimed materials

We tend to think that wood is a natural material and we can be forgiven for that.  The one thing we must remember is that any natural material can be contaminated. Not just contaminated but also it can contain some  carcinogenic compounds.

Does new wood contain contaminants?

We have to remember that timber has a history and that history can contain artefacts.  These artefacts can be in the form of tiny foreign particles of toxins. My shutter building business is located in France in the Rural countryside.  The countryside has wildlife and some of that wildlife consists of rats and as you would expect that will run-walk and play on seasoning timber.  Some processed timber is left waiting for its final useful purpose. During this dormant time, it is likely that vermin and other toxins could fall upon the wood. 

Old used wood has history too

Like me would also have a history.  There’s history can be a variety of different situations that it has been exposed to.  Painted wood of modern times is coated with paint that is not toxic. If the timber is being repurposed after it has been stored post reclamation it is possible that there are some other toxins present.  Paint today is considered safe but a few decades ago paint contained lead. 

Does painted wood contain lead?

Old Paint containing lead is highly toxic.  As an example, my wife’s cousin died as a baby because he was chewing on a windowsill coated in toxic lead paint.  A sad story. 

Today we are more careful. We realised that some materials used in the past are incompatible with healthy living in the future. 

Upcycling can be dangerous

If working on old houses or Barns etc you should do a survey in the form of a risk assessment.  Without this risk assessment, you were taking unnecessary risks.

If you have to work with materials such as wood that has been treated with paint or other chemicals take precautions.  These precautions can be in the form of a dust mask or some form of respiratory equipment.

Simple detergents used in cleaning your home can soak into wood and drys into a residue which after multiple cleaning sessions over many years can leave a cocktail of chemicals. This is probably safe while the old wood is left alone. Once you start sanding the timber and make sanding dust then these chemicals become airborne. Once airborne this cocktail of poisonous dust can be breathed in.

Our lungs perform like a filter

You can tell yourself that all will be ok because my upper respiratory system can filter out particles. This is true to a point but our upper respiratory system can only filter out larger particles. You are a risk of inhaling small particles into your lungs contaminating your lungs and potentially your bloodstream.

The result of inhaling small particle toxins is reduced lung capacity.  The scarring to the pleural layers is irreversible. The pleural layers are within your lungs. 

Indirectly we are a risk of asbestosis

The end result of inhaling toxic long damaging particles is very similar to asbestosis.

Asbestosis is the scarring of the pleural layers within our lungs.  This is caused by the fibres of dangerous blue asbestos having double barbs.  Asbestosis is caused by asbestos which has these barbs scarring the pleural layers as we try to exhale the irritant fibres. Asbestosis is irreversible and in some cases, you will have to have oxygen provided by a cylinder. In time you’ll find it virtually impossible to breathe. Be careful take precaution do not inhale this dust. 

Asbestos was used as a fire retardant reinforcement fibre and often used in pipe lagging and other insulations.  If you have to remove asbestos hire a professional to do the clean-up. If you have no choice and must work with Asbestos wet it down thoroughly so the dust particles do not fly. Asbestos is not comparable to wood-related health and safety but be careful if the wood you are working on is close to asbestos.

Plastic homes are toxic

In the modern world, where are we fine Homes with plastic coated particle board?
The risk of inhalation of toxins is very high. While these materials are in their solid-state they are relativity safe. But in this modern world where we are told to recycle and reuse or even upcycle. We must take precaution and understand the material we are working with.  

Avoid modern materials

A modern material such as Conti Board, chipboard covered in a resin film. Is a carrier of two potential toxins that first spring to mind.  One is resin plastics and the other is the glue that bonds the particles together under high compression. 

Does MDF contain formaldehyde?

MDF is a very popular panel product. But frankly, I cannot understand why when the chemical used to embalm dead bodies formaldehyde is contained within  MDF. Medium-density fiberboard has been found to contain high concentrations of urea-formaldehyde adhesives. urea-formaldehyde is found in other Blues that is used in the production of engineered timber and sheet products.

Systemic poisons such as formaldehyde cause skin irritation and Burns.  The Dust from sanding materials that contain formaldehyde is a serious risk to health.  formaldehyde is thought to be a carcinogen.

Tanalised timber contains arsenic?

We have to take care of also for other chemical treatments. Wood treatments such as tanalised timber contain arsenic. Arsenic is actually a natural chemical and can be found in cherry stones. In the early 2000s, the arsenic component of tanalisation was removed under EU ruling. Yes, the European Union is a protectionist Union but after all, it is to protect us Europeans. 

Tanalised timber is widely used for exterior woodwork. If you find any softwood that has been outside for many years the likelihood it has been tanalised. If you must work on tanalised timber and producing some dust is a result of that. Take stringent precaution as they would dust from tanalised wood will contain high levels of toxins. These poisons are often found in old exterior wood could be in the form of arsenic. 

Brexit is not about democracy but disruption!

Brexit is a far-right European Union infiltration disruption Project. 

Remember that anything that has been coated or soaked into any timber that we want to work with our machines will expel its toxins in the form of wood dust.

Wood SpeciesReaction
Aburairritant, nausea, giddiness, and vomiting
African Blackwoodirritant, sensitizer
Afrormosiairritant, nervous system effects, asthma, splinters go septic
Afzeliairritant, sneezing
Agba (Gossweilerodendron balsamiferum)irritant
Ailanthusirritant
Albiziairritant, nausea, pink eye, giddiness, nose bleeds
Alder (Alnus genus)irritant
Alligator Juniperirritant
Amboynairritant, asthma
Andirobairritant, sneezing
Angelim vermelhounspecific allergic reactions
Araracangairritant, asthma
Ash (Fraxinus genus)irritant
Ash, alpine (Eucalyptus delegatensis)irritant
Ash, mountainirritant
Australian Blackwoodirritant, sensitizer, asthma
Australian Cashew Nut (Semecarpus australiensis)irritant, skin lesions, nosebleeds
Avodireirritant, nose bleeds, internal bleeding, asthma
Balsairritant
Bambooirritant
Bataiirritant, sneezing
Birch (Betula genus)irritant, sensitizer, nausea
Black Cherrywheezing, giddiness
Black Locustirritant, nausea
Blackbeanirritant
Bloodwoodirritant, excessive thirst, salivation, nausea
Bloodwood, Red (Australian)irritant
Blue Gumirritant
Blue Mahoesneezing
Bocotecross reactions possible once sensitivity to other woods have developed
Bosseirritant, sensitizer, asthma, nausea, headache
Box, Grayirritant, rash
Boxwood, Knysna (Gonioma kamassi)irritant, headache, asthma
Boxwood, Europeanirritant, sensitizer
Brazilwoodirritant, headache, nausea, swelling skin, blisters
Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla)irritant
Brownheartirritant
Bubingairritant, lesions
Buckthornirritant, sap can cause dermatitis
Bulletwoodirritant
Camphorirritant, asthma, headaches, giddiness
Cashew (Anacardium occidentale)irritant, blisters, sensitizer
Catalpairritant
Cedar, Alaskan Yellowirritant
Cedar, Aromatic Redirritant
Cedar, Atlantic Whiteirritant
Cedar, Australian Redirritant, asthma, migraine, giddiness, bronchitis, stomach cramps, NPC (rare)
Cedar, Incenseirritant, rashes
Cedar of Lebanonirritant, asthma, runny nose, respiratory disorders
Cedar, Northern Whiteirritant, asthma
Cedar, Port Orfordirritant, runny nose, asthma, kidney problems (diuresis)
Cedar, Spanishirritant
Cedar, Southern Redirritant
Cedar, Western Redirritant, sensitizer, runny nose, asthma, nervous system effects, NPC (rare)
Chechenirritant, sensitizer
Chestnut, Chinese (Castanea mollissima)irritant
Chestnut, Sweetirritant, sensitizer
Chico Zapoteirritant (nasal)
Chinaberryirritant, headaches
Cocoboloirritant, sensitizer, nausea, asthma, pink eye
Cocuswoodirritant
Coolibahirritant
Copaia (Jacaranda copaia)irritant
Crow’s Ash (Flindersia australis)irritant
Cuban Mahoganyirritant
Cypresssensitizer
Cypress, Australianirritant, asthma, swelling of eyelids, boils, NPC (rare)
Cypress, Gowenirritant
Cypress, Leylandirritant
Cypress, Mediterraneanirritant, rashes, headaches
Cypress, Mexicanirritant
Cypress, Montereyirritant
Dahoma (Piptadeniastrum africanum)irritant, sensitizer
Dead Finish (Acacia tetragonophylla)irritant, splinters go septic
Douglas-firirritant, giddiness, runny nose, splinters go septic, nausea
Ebony (Diospyros genus)irritant, sensitizer, pink eye
Ebony, Brownirritant
Ebony, Macassarirritant, sensitizer
Ekkiirritant
Elm (Ulmus genus)irritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
European Beechirritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
Eyoum (Dialium dinklagei)irritant
Fir (Abies genus)irritant
Fir, Balsamirritant
Freijoirritant, sensitizer, dryness/thirst
Garapairritant
Goncalo Alvessensitizer
Grasstree (Xanthorrhoea spp.)irritant
Greenheartsensitizer, wheezing, severe throat irritation, splinters go septic, cardiac and intestinal disorders
Guanacasteirritant
Gum, Lemon-Scentedirritant
Gum, Spottedirritant, rashes
Gum, Yellowirritant
Hackberryirritant
Hemlock, Easternirritant
Hemlock, Mountainirritant
Hemlock, Westernirritant, runny nose, NPC (rare)
Hophornbeamirritant
Hornbeam (Carpinus genus)irritant
Idigboirritant
Imbuiairritant
Indian Beech (Pongamia pinnata)irritant
Indian Laurelirritant
Ipeirritant, headache, asthma, vision effects
Irokoirritant, sensitizer, asthma, boils, giddiness, HP
Ironwood, Desertirritant, sneezing, coughing
Jarrahirritant
Jatobairritant
Jelutongirritant
Juniper, Phoenician (Juniperus phoenicea)irritant, headache, nausea
Kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides)irritant
Karriirritant
Kataloxirritant
Keruingirritant
Kingwoodirritant, sensitizer, pink eye
Kotoirritant
Laburnum constitutional effects (nausea, vomiting, headaches); direct toxin
Lacewoodirritant
Larch (Larix genus)irritant, hives, lesions
Leadwood (Combretum genus)irritant
Lebbeckirritant
Lignum Vitaeirritant
Limbairritant, hives, splinters go septic, asthma, bleeding of the nose and gums
Machicheirritant
Magnolia (Magnolia genus)asthma, runny nose
Mahogany, Africanirritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
Mahogany, Honduranirritant, sensitizer, boils, nausea, giddiness, asthma, HP
Mahogany, Santosirritant
Makoreirritant, nausea, headache, giddiness, nervous system and blood effects
Mangoirritant
Mansoniairritant, sensitizer, nausea, sneezing, headaches, nosebleeds, splinters go septic, asthma, giddiness, cardiac disorders
Maple (Acer genus)irritant, sensitizer, asthma; HP in spalted maple
Maple, Queenslandirritant
Meranti (Shorea genus)irritant
Merbauirritant
Mesquite (Prosopis genus)irritant
Messmateirritant, asthma
Milky Mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha) sap is poisonous, causes irritation to eyes and/or temporary blindness, headache, burning of throat, blistering of skin
Mimosairritant
Moabiirritant (mucous membranes)
Molopangady (Breonia madagascariensis)irritant, sores
Monkeypodirritant
Morairritant
Movinguiirritant
Muhuhu (Brachylaena hutchinsii)irritant
Mulgairritant, headache, nausea, lesions, wood contains a virulent poisonous principle used for spear heads by aboriginals
Muningairritant, asthma, bronchitis
Myrtleirritant, sensitizer
Myrtle, Tasmanianirritant
Narrairritant, asthma
Norway Spruceirritant, asthma
Nyatohirritant
Oak (Quercus genus)Oak Treeirritant, sensitizer, asthma, NPC(rare)
Obecheirritant, sensitizer, runny nose, sneezing, hives, asthma
Okoumeirritant, cough, asthma, pink eye
Oleander (Nerium oleander) irritant, nearly every part of the plant is toxic, cardiac effects
Oliveirritant, sensitizer
Opepeirritant, sensitizer, nervous system effects
Osage Orangeirritant, sap can cause dermatitis
Osage Orange, Argentineirritant, sap can cause dermatitis
Padauk (Pterocarpus genus)irritant, sensitizer, nausea, asthma
Palm (Arecaceae family)irritant, constitutional effects
Parinari (Parinari spp.)irritant
Partridgewoodirritant, hives, coughing
Pau Ferroirritant, sensitizer
Pau Marfim (Balfourodendron riedelianum)irritant
Pau Rosairritant
Pau Santoirritant
Peroba Rosairritant, sensitizer, nausea, asthma
Persimmonirritant
Pheasantwoodcavities in the wood can contain powder that is an irritant, skin discoloration
Pine (Pinus genus)irritant, runny nose, asthma
Pine, Huonirritant
Pistachioirritant
Poison Walnut (Cryptocarya pleurosperma) bark irritating to skin, dust may cause asthma, nausea, giddiness,sap is toxic and corrosive
Poplarirritant, blisters, asthma, bronchitis
Primaverairritant, sensitizer
Purpleheartirritant, sensitizer, nausea
Quebrachoirritant, nausea, NPC (rare)
Quinairritant
Raminirritant, splinters go septic, asthma
Redwoodirritant, sensitizer, asthma, HP, NPC (rare)
Rengassap is strongly irritating, blisters, ulcers, fever, constitutional effects
Rhodesian Teakirritant
Rose Butternut (Blepharocarya involucrigera)irritant, pink eye
Rosewood (Dalbergia genus)irritant, sensitizer, asthma
Rosewood, Brazilianirritant, sensitizer
Rosewood, East Indianirritant, sensitizer
Rosewood, Siameseirritant, rash, hives, sensitizer
Rubberwoodirritant, sensitizer (latex allergy)
Saffron-Heart (Halfordia scleroxyloa)irritant, splinters go septic, lung congestion
Santa Maria (Calophyllum brasiliense)irritant, fainting, insomnia, kidney damage
Sassafrassensitizer, nausea, respiratory, direct toxin, NPC (rare)
Sapeleirritant, sneezing
Satinwood, East Indianirritant, headache, diarrhea, sensitizer
Satinwood, West Indianirritant, diarrhea, rash, blisters, sensitizer
Shittim (Acacia seyal)irritant, coughing
Silky Oak, Northernirritant
Silky Oak, Southernirritant, sap may cause blistering of skin, eyelid inflammation
Simarouba (Simarouba amara)irritant
Sissooirritant
Slash Pineirritant, asthma
Snakewoodirritant
Sneezewoodirritant, oils within the wood cause violent sneezing
Spruce (Picea genus)irritant, sensitizer
Sucupira (Bowdichia nitida)irritant
Sugiunspecified allergic reactions
Sumac (Rhus spp.)irritant, bark may cause blisters
Sweetgumirritant
Tali (Erythrophleum suaveolens)irritant, headache, giddiness, nausea, disorders of bowels and stomach
Tambootieirritant, diarrhea, blindness, direct toxin
Tatajubairritant
Teakirritant, sensitizer, rash, nausea, asthma, vision effects, pink eye, HP
Thuyairritant
Tiama (Entandrophragma angolense)irritant
Turpentineirritant, swelling
Tzalamcold-like symptoms
Utileirritant
Verawoodsneezing
Walnut, Africanirritant, systemic effects, NPC(rare)
Walnut, Blackirritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
Walnut, Englishirritant, NPC (rare)
Wamarairritant
Wengeirritant, sensitizer, splinters go septic, nervous system effects, abdominal cramps
Western Hemlockirritant, NPC (rare)
Western Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis)irritant
White Peroba (Paratecoma peroba)irritant, sensitizer, asthma
Willow (Salix spp.)sensitizer, nausea, NPC (rare)
Yew (Taxus spp.) irritant, nausea, headache, cardiac effects, direct toxin
Yellowheartirritant
Zebrawoodsensitizer
Ziricotecross reactions possible once sensitivity to other woods have developed
Zitanirritant, vomiting
Wood SpeciesReaction
Aburairritant, nausea, giddiness, and vomiting
African Blackwoodirritant, sensitizer
Afrormosiairritant, nervous system effects, asthma, splinters go septic
Afzeliairritant, sneezing
Agba (Gossweilerodendron balsamiferum)irritant
Ailanthusirritant
Albiziairritant, nausea, pink eye, giddiness, nose bleeds
Alder (Alnus genus)irritant
Alligator Juniperirritant
Amboynairritant, asthma
Andirobairritant, sneezing
Angelim vermelhounspecific allergic reactions
Araracangairritant, asthma
Ash (Fraxinus genus)irritant
Ash, alpine (Eucalyptus delegatensis)irritant
Ash, mountainirritant
Australian Blackwoodirritant, sensitizer, asthma
Australian Cashew Nut (Semecarpus australiensis)irritant, skin lesions, nosebleeds
Avodireirritant, nose bleeds, internal bleeding, asthma
Balsairritant
Bambooirritant
Bataiirritant, sneezing
Birch (Betula genus)irritant, sensitizer, nausea
Black Cherrywheezing, giddiness
Black Locustirritant, nausea
Blackbeanirritant
Bloodwoodirritant, excessive thirst, salivation, nausea
Bloodwood, Red (Australian)irritant
Blue Gumirritant
Blue Mahoesneezing
Bocotecross reactions possible once sensitivity to other woods have developed
Bosseirritant, sensitizer, asthma, nausea, headache
Box, Grayirritant, rash
Boxwood, Knysna (Gonioma kamassi)irritant, headache, asthma
Boxwood, Europeanirritant, sensitizer
Brazilwoodirritant, headache, nausea, swelling skin, blisters
Brigalow (Acacia harpophylla)irritant
Brownheartirritant
Bubingairritant, lesions
Buckthornirritant, sap can cause dermatitis
Bulletwoodirritant
Camphorirritant, asthma, headaches, giddiness
Cashew (Anacardium occidentale)irritant, blisters, sensitizer
Catalpairritant
Cedar, Alaskan Yellowirritant
Cedar, Aromatic Redirritant
Cedar, Atlantic Whiteirritant
Cedar, Australian Redirritant, asthma, migraine, giddiness, bronchitis, stomach cramps, NPC (rare)
Cedar, Incenseirritant, rashes
Cedar of Lebanonirritant, asthma, runny nose, respiratory disorders
Cedar, Northern Whiteirritant, asthma
Cedar, Port Orfordirritant, runny nose, asthma, kidney problems (diuresis)
Cedar, Spanishirritant
Cedar, Southern Redirritant
Cedar, Western Redirritant, sensitizer, runny nose, asthma, nervous system effects, NPC (rare)
Chechenirritant, sensitizer
Chestnut, Chinese (Castanea mollissima)irritant
Chestnut, Sweetirritant, sensitizer
Chico Zapoteirritant (nasal)
Chinaberryirritant, headaches
Cocoboloirritant, sensitizer, nausea, asthma, pink eye
Cocuswoodirritant
Coolibahirritant
Copaia (Jacaranda copaia)irritant
Crow’s Ash (Flindersia australis)irritant
Cuban Mahoganyirritant
Cypresssensitizer
Cypress, Australianirritant, asthma, swelling of eyelids, boils, NPC (rare)
Cypress, Gowenirritant
Cypress, Leylandirritant
Cypress, Mediterraneanirritant, rashes, headaches
Cypress, Mexicanirritant
Cypress, Montereyirritant
Dahoma (Piptadeniastrum africanum)irritant, sensitizer
Dead Finish (Acacia tetragonophylla)irritant, splinters go septic
Douglas-firirritant, giddiness, runny nose, splinters go septic, nausea
Ebony (Diospyros genus)irritant, sensitizer, pink eye
Ebony, Brownirritant
Ebony, Macassarirritant, sensitizer
Ekkiirritant
Elm (Ulmus genus)irritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
European Beechirritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
Eyoum (Dialium dinklagei)irritant
Fir (Abies genus)irritant
Fir, Balsamirritant
Freijoirritant, sensitizer, dryness/thirst
Garapairritant
Goncalo Alvessensitizer
Grasstree (Xanthorrhoea spp.)irritant
Greenheartsensitizer, wheezing, severe throat irritation, splinters go septic, cardiac and intestinal disorders
Guanacasteirritant
Gum, Lemon-Scentedirritant
Gum, Spottedirritant, rashes
Gum, Yellowirritant
Hackberryirritant
Hemlock, Easternirritant
Hemlock, Mountainirritant
Hemlock, Westernirritant, runny nose, NPC (rare)
Hophornbeamirritant
Hornbeam (Carpinus genus)irritant
Idigboirritant
Imbuiairritant
Indian Beech (Pongamia pinnata)irritant
Indian Laurelirritant
Ipeirritant, headache, asthma, vision effects
Irokoirritant, sensitizer, asthma, boils, giddiness, HP
Ironwood, Desertirritant, sneezing, coughing
Jarrahirritant
Jatobairritant
Jelutongirritant
Juniper, Phoenician (Juniperus phoenicea)irritant, headache, nausea
Kahikatea (Dacrycarpus dacrydioides)irritant
Karriirritant
Kataloxirritant
Keruingirritant
Kingwoodirritant, sensitizer, pink eye
Kotoirritant
Laburnum constitutional effects (nausea, vomiting, headaches); direct toxin
Lacewoodirritant
Larch (Larix genus)irritant, hives, lesions
Leadwood (Combretum genus)irritant
Lebbeckirritant
Lignum Vitaeirritant
Limbairritant, hives, splinters go septic, asthma, bleeding of the nose and gums
Machicheirritant
Magnolia (Magnolia genus)asthma, runny nose
Mahogany, Africanirritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
Mahogany, Honduranirritant, sensitizer, boils, nausea, giddiness, asthma, HP
Mahogany, Santosirritant
Makoreirritant, nausea, headache, giddiness, nervous system and blood effects
Mangoirritant
Mansoniairritant, sensitizer, nausea, sneezing, headaches, nosebleeds, splinters go septic, asthma, giddiness, cardiac disorders
Maple (Acer genus)irritant, sensitizer, asthma; HP in spalted maple
Maple, Queenslandirritant
Meranti (Shorea genus)irritant
Merbauirritant
Mesquite (Prosopis genus)irritant
Messmateirritant, asthma
Milky Mangrove (Excoecaria agallocha) sap is poisonous, causes irritation to eyes and/or temporary blindness, headache, burning of throat, blistering of skin
Mimosairritant
Moabiirritant (mucous membranes)
Molopangady (Breonia madagascariensis)irritant, sores
Monkeypodirritant
Morairritant
Movinguiirritant
Muhuhu (Brachylaena hutchinsii)irritant
Mulgairritant, headache, nausea, lesions, wood contains a virulent poisonous principle used for spear heads by aboriginals
Muningairritant, asthma, bronchitis
Myrtleirritant, sensitizer
Myrtle, Tasmanianirritant
Narrairritant, asthma
Norway Spruceirritant, asthma
Nyatohirritant
Oak (Quercus genus)irritant, sensitizer, asthma, NPC(rare)
Obecheirritant, sensitizer, runny nose, sneezing, hives, asthma
Okoumeirritant, cough, asthma, pink eye
Oleander (Nerium oleander) irritant, nearly every part of the plant is toxic, cardiac effects
Oliveirritant, sensitizer
Opepeirritant, sensitizer, nervous system effects
Osage Orangeirritant, sap can cause dermatitis
Osage Orange, Argentineirritant, sap can cause dermatitis
Padauk (Pterocarpus genus)irritant, sensitizer, nausea, asthma
Palm (Arecaceae family)irritant, constitutional effects
Parinari (Parinari spp.)irritant
Partridgewoodirritant, hives, coughing
Pau Ferroirritant, sensitizer
Pau Marfim (Balfourodendron riedelianum)irritant
Pau Rosairritant
Pau Santoirritant
Peroba Rosairritant, sensitizer, nausea, asthma
Persimmonirritant
Pheasantwoodcavities in the wood can contain powder that is an irritant, skin discoloration
Pine (Pinus genus)irritant, runny nose, asthma
Pine, Huonirritant
Pistachioirritant
Poison Walnut (Cryptocarya pleurosperma) bark irritating to skin, dust may cause asthma, nausea, giddiness,sap is toxic and corrosive
Poplarirritant, blisters, asthma, bronchitis
Primaverairritant, sensitizer
Purpleheartirritant, sensitizer, nausea
Quebrachoirritant, nausea, NPC (rare)
Quinairritant
Raminirritant, splinters go septic, asthma
Redwoodirritant, sensitizer, asthma, HP, NPC (rare)
Rengassap is strongly irritating, blisters, ulcers, fever, constitutional effects
Rhodesian Teakirritant
Rose Butternut (Blepharocarya involucrigera)irritant, pink eye
Rosewood (Dalbergia genus)irritant, sensitizer, asthma
Rosewood, Brazilianirritant, sensitizer
Rosewood, East Indianirritant, sensitizer
Rosewood, Siameseirritant, rash, hives, sensitizer
Rubberwoodirritant, sensitizer (latex allergy)
Saffron-Heart (Halfordia scleroxyloa)irritant, splinters go septic, lung congestion
Santa Maria (Calophyllum brasiliense)irritant, fainting, insomnia, kidney damage
Sassafrassensitizer, nausea, respiratory, direct toxin, NPC (rare)
Sapeleirritant, sneezing
Satinwood, East Indianirritant, headache, diarrhea, sensitizer
Satinwood, West Indianirritant, diarrhea, rash, blisters, sensitizer
Shittim (Acacia seyal)irritant, coughing
Silky Oak, Northernirritant
Silky Oak, Southernirritant, sap may cause blistering of skin, eyelid inflammation
Simarouba (Simarouba amara)irritant
Sissooirritant
Slash Pineirritant, asthma
Snakewoodirritant
Sneezewoodirritant, oils within the wood cause violent sneezing
Spruce (Picea genus)irritant, sensitizer
Sucupira (Bowdichia nitida)irritant
Sugiunspecified allergic reactions
Sumac (Rhus spp.)irritant, bark may cause blisters
Sweetgumirritant
Tali (Erythrophleum suaveolens)irritant, headache, giddiness, nausea, disorders of bowels and stomach
Tambootieirritant, diarrhea, blindness, direct toxin
Tatajubairritant
Teakirritant, sensitizer, rash, nausea, asthma, vision effects, pink eye, HP
Thuyairritant
Tiama (Entandrophragma angolense)irritant
Turpentineirritant, swelling
Tzalamcold-like symptoms
Utileirritant
Verawoodsneezing
Walnut, Africanirritant, systemic effects, NPC(rare)
Walnut, Blackirritant, sensitizer, NPC (rare)
Walnut, Englishirritant, NPC (rare)
Wamarairritant
Wengeirritant, sensitizer, splinters go septic, nervous system effects, abdominal cramps
Western Hemlockirritant, NPC (rare)
Western Juniper (Juniperus occidentalis)irritant
White Peroba (Paratecoma peroba)irritant, sensitizer, asthma
Willow (Salix spp.)sensitizer, nausea, NPC (rare)
Yew (Taxus spp.) irritant, nausea, headache, cardiac effects, direct toxin
Yellowheartirritant
Zebrawoodsensitizer
Ziricotecross reactions possible once sensitivity to other woods have developed
Zitanirritant, vomiting

Information on timber supplied by Eric Meier’s website https://www.wood-database.com

buy his book here https://www.wood-database.com/book/

By Marcus Kett, Woodworking since 1989 

head wood malcolm kett memorial

Malcolm the Boat ‘RIP’

 Woodworking for me is in my blood as a son of a traditional boatbuilder. My Father Malcolm Kett was highly skilled and inventive individual often referred to as ‘Malcolm The Boat’. 

selfie with mortar board

Marcus Kett and my Mortar!

Although I have spent a considerable portion of my life seeking further education and gaining qualifications in woodworking, electrical installations, bricklaying and to top it a degree in photography.

Yes, it is a medley of possible career choices but the one that I felt truly at home with was Woodworking. Woodworking has been my staple career choice that has given my family stability.

Why do I write these guides?

selfie workshop bio

Well that’s Me

We started to write these guides to help our customers. The idea was to provide the information needed to install our made to measure wooden products that we sell on this website and directly to our local customers.

We soon received feedback from people abroad and interested readers not local to us. I like to help people and I am excited that fellow woodworkers or keen DIYers found guidance in my articles. I intend to carry on writing and producing youtube videos for the purpose of providing useful content. Please share our blog with your friends and anyone that could find interest in the magic of working with wood. 

Disclosure

I am happy to inform you that we have included some links to related products. If you decide to purchase any product we receive a modest commission from Amazon.  This is not considered as our main income but any commission earned is used to provide more tutorials. I thank you for your support.

The content in this article is provided for free but we retain all copyright. We do encourage you to borrow this content but only if you cite us as the original content with a link to our site. 

About Wallybois

wallybois mascot christmas

Wally is the middle one

We have lived and worked here in the Limousin Nouvelle Aquitaine since 2010, building window shutters and external doors. Our Volet manufacturing business is based at our home property as a ‘Cottage Industry’. We are a small business operating partly (60%) off the grid and try our best to practice our woodworking ethically.

How did we come up with the trading name ‘Wallybois’ ? Well it is simple really, my best buddy ‘Wally’ and the fact that ‘Bois’ is French for wood and we live in France.

Please Comment

If you have any corrections or topics you think that we should add please leave a comment.  If you think we deserve it a Share would be nice.

Thank You for visiting

By Marcus Kett, Woodworking since 1989

Based in the Nouvelle Aquitaine of France

Tel: +33 7 81 45 32 82