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Wood Toxicity 

 

If you are uncertain about the health risk of a wood you are using, please check its toxicity level before you start working with it.  Wood dust is dangerous. (See Dust Collection.)   Some people are allergic to the wood itself.  Cocobolo dust frequently causes a reaction like poison ivy.  The dust from Chakte Kok and Aromatic Cedar can irritate the sinuses.  Use the following chart on Wood Toxicity.  Below the chart are links to articles and more charts on the toxicity of wood.  Keep your woodworking hobby enjoyable by staying healthy.

 

The following chart appeared in American Woodturner June 1990,

Originally posted to rec.woodworking by Bruce Taylor taylor@tpwosf.tay1.dec.com

Wood		Reaction	Site	Potency	Source	Incidence
----		--------	----	-------	------	---------
Bald Cypress	S		R	+	D	R
Balsam Fir	S		E,S	+	LB	C
Beech		S,C		E,S,R	++	LB,D	C
Birch		S		R	++	W,D	C
Black Locust	I,N		E,S	+++	LB	C
Blackwood	S		E,S	++	W,D	C
Boxwood		S		E,S	++	W,D	C
Cashew		S		E,S	+	W,D	R
Cocobolo	I,S		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Dahoma		I		E,S	++	W,D	C
Ebony		I,S		E,S	++	W,D	C
Elm		I		E,S	+	D	R
Goncalo Alves	S		E,S	++	W,D	R
Greenheart	S		E,S	+++	W,D	C
Hemlock		C		R	?	D	U
Iroko		I,S,P		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Mahogany	S,P		S,R	+	D	U
Mansonia	I,S		E,S	+++	W,D	C
		N			+	D
Maple (Spalted)	S,P		R	+++	D	C
Mimosa		N			?	LB	U
Myrtle		S		R	++	LB,D	C
Oak		S		E,S	++	LB,D	R
		C			?	D	U
Obeche		I,S		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Oleander	DT		N,C	++++	D,W,LB	C
Olivewood	I,S		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Opepe		S		R	+	D	R
Padauk		S		E,S,R	+	W,D	R
Pau Ferro	S		E,S	+	W,D	R
Peroba Rosa	I		R,N	++	W,D	U
Purpleheart			N	++	W,D	C
Quebracho	I		R,N	++	LB,D	C
		C			?	D	U
Redwood		S,P		E,S,R	++	D	R
		C			?	D	U
Rosewoods	I,S		E,S,R	++++	W,D	U
Satinwood	I		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Sassafras	S		R	+	D	C
		DT		N	+	D,W,LB	R
		C			?	D	U
Sequoia		I		R	+	D	R
Snakewood	I		R	++	W,D	R
Spruce		S		R	+	W,D	R
Walnut, Black	S		E,S	++	W,D	C
Wenge		S		E,S,R	+	W,D	C
Willow		S		R,N	+	D,W,LB	U
West. Red Cedar	S		R	+++	D,LB	C
Teak		S,P		E,S,R	++	D	C
Yew		I		E,S	++	D	C
		DT		N,C	++++	W,D	C
Zebrawood	S		E,S	++	W,D

REACTION:		SITE:		SOURCE:		  INCIDENCE:
I  - irritant		S - skin	D  - dust	  R - rare
S  - sensitizer		E - eyes	LB - leaves,bark  C - common
C  - nasopharyngeal	R - respiratory	W  - wood	  U - uncommon
     cancer
P  - pheumonitis,	C - cardiac
     alveolitis
     (hypersensitivity 
      pneumonia)
DT - direct toxin
N  - nausea, malaise

Reference:
1. Woods Toxic to Man, author unknown
2. Woods, B., Calnan, C.D., "Toxic Woods." Br. Journal of Dermatology 1976
3. ILO Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety 1983
4. Lame, K., McAnn, M., AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, AMA 1985
5. Poisondex, Micromedix Inc. 1990

 

Links to articles and tables on Wood Toxicity

Health Hazards & Wood  - table compiled by U-Beaut Neil Ellis
The Dangers of Wood Dust  - list from Victorian Woodworkers Association
Wood Toxicity  - by Barb Siddiqui in Women in Woodworking
Toxicity of Wood  - from Albert Forest Products, Inc.
Toxicity of Wood  - from the Woodbox.com

 

    

 

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