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Hi Michael

 

Thanks for the translation, I was struggling with my poor French to understand the meaning go the tables. Sensible precautions now to be applied when working with the woods that are classed A1 - A3.

 

Regards

 

Glyn

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This data should be taken with a grain of salt.  I worked testing and evalutating toxic materials for many years and most of the data available is based on very few studies usually with a limited number of test subjects.  Unless human studies have been completed with a large and significant test population the data is not really reliable as a guide to impacts on humans.  That said it never hurts to take precautions and some individuals are far more sensitive than others.  Dust masks and eye protection is never a bad idea.

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Never said you shouldn't manage risk, just that saying something is toxic does not necessarily mean that it is.  Most government agencies use the "precautionary principle", i.e. that if someone thinks something might be toxic better to list is as such rather than take any risk.  It is just another cya move. 

 

An example, Professor Blowhard of Grants-r-Us U, head of the questionable science department issued a statement that dihydrogen oxide has been determined to be toxic in rats and should immediately be banned or at least strictly regulated to avoid risk to humans.  Professor Blowhard determined this by an experiment using two test groups of lab rats consisting of 6 rats in each group.  The first group was placed in 1 liter chambers filled with dihydrogen oxide and the control group were placed in identical chambers filled with air.  The first group all died after struggling desperately for a few seconds.  The control group all survived with no ill effects.  This 100% mortality in the test group is very strong evidence of the toxicity of dihydrogen oxide.  Professor Blowhard is asking for a 100 million dollar grant to study the affects of dihydrogen oxide on humans in areas such as Hawaii, Tahiti, and other areas where large groups of humans are exposed on a daily basis.  Professor Blowhard and his grad assistants Wendy, Bunny and Sue will spend the next several years visiting these areas and accessing the impacts.

 

A bit over the top but you would be surprised at just how many studies used to classify substances as "toxic" are no more extensive than my humorous example.

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The questions that remain unanswered and probably unmeasurable are dose, frequency and duration of exposure -- in addition to susceptibility.

 

With the water example, the duration was very short but short exposures for immersion are non-toxic. Traffic pollution is definitely carcinogenic (and the traffic itself far more deadly of course) but for a tolerable number of humans.

 

'Toxic' is far preferable as a word to 'carcinogenic' because of the wide variety of possible health outcomes resulting from exposure, with varying intensities (from a mild itch to death). For some reason humans as a whole are more fearful of dying from cancer than any other form of death, with other forms often being more horrific, long-lasting, debilitating or painful.

 

The simple message is that working with any tools or with any substrate (such as wood) has health hazards, and we choose to live with the uncertainties of particular risks because of the pleasure the activity gives. At the same time we take precautions to minimise the risks, so can use masks, dust extractors  and good ventilation. There are many shipwrights amongst us who have lived four score years and ten even after a lifetime of exposure to a wide variety of toxic substances, and here I include alcohol -- that well-known carcinogen. Others have passed away earlier after their particular lifetimes of happiness. Genetics are clearly involved.

 

So it's not with a pinch of salt that I take the news of toxicity of sawdust, as salt itself is very toxic and lethal at particular doses.

 

Tony

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For many years I questioned myself about wood allergies.  The main reason being that there was no serious report was done about this subject. Some things were written and probably all personal impressions.  It is the first time that I see a credible report talking about the danger of chemicals in certain woods.

The important thing for me is to know what I do with this information. By example, oak and beech do not have a desirable wood grain, I used these woods 1 time in the past, now I will place these woods on the list of woods not to use.

Another example, I liked very much the look and the touch of ebony. Druxey knew for a certain time that ebony can be dangerous. Having never read anything about it, I did not know what to do with this information.  About ebony dust, I noticed 2 things, this is the finest particle I have ever seen and it is not nice to snuff his nose with a kleenex and see how black it is.

On my present build, I stopped using ebony without really knowing why. Now I know that there is Macassar quinone in macassar ebony. I have no idea what it is, but the main thing is that I will not be using ebony anymore and since then I learned how to use black dye, the color is there not the touch but it is acceptable.

 

One last example, there is dimethoxy-p-benzoquinone in maple sugar and African mahogany. I used these woods few times. Again I do not know what this product is and in a way I do not care if a doctor did a study about this product but again I will put these woods in the list of the woods not to be used.

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I'm not sure, but I seem to remember that Portia Takajia died from emphysema that was exacerbated from breathing dust from exotic spalted wood she used in her modeling. If not toxic they surely must be an irritant that would make someone with asthma or other respiratory problems worse. I doubt normal contact would be a problem.

 

Kurt

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grsjack I think I get what you are trying to explain that there is not thousands of known cases.

 

In the link provide in English by Michael, if you click on wood dust can cause respiratory or skin awereness, go to ebony Africa, click on it:

 

One study reports of respiratory sensitization to a luthier who made musical instruments in Ebony. After one year of exposure, he had rhinitis and asthma attacks that appeared when he was at work. The symptoms disappeared and reappeared during the holidays when they return to work. Provocation tests with dust ebony showed immediate positive responses and delayed until 20 hours after the test. Skin tests gave negative answers.

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I'm not sure, but I seem to remember that Portia Takajia died from emphysema that was exacerbated from breathing dust from exotic spalted wood she used in her modeling. If not toxic they surely must be an irritant that would make someone with asthma or other respiratory problems worse. I doubt normal contact would be a problem.

 

Kurt

Any and all dust can and does cause problems.  Fine dust of even the most benign material can cause serious health problems if breathed in over extended periods.  It is not the toxicity of the dust but the physical impact of the particles on the lung tissue that causes the damage.  A dust mask is always a good idea when sawing or sanding wood.  tkay11 has it right, dose, exposure and sensitivity are all things that must be taken into acount when evaluating toxicity.  People that worked in US cotton mills of the 19th and early 20th century suffered lung problems from breathing cotton dust.  No longer a problem here but it still is a problem in developing countries.  Cotton isn't toxic but I wouldn't want to breath the dust from it for 20 years.

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Any and all dust can and does cause problems.  Fine dust of even the most benign material can cause serious health problems if breathed in over extended periods.  It is not the toxicity of the dust but the physical impact of the particles on the lung tissue that causes the damage.  A dust mask is always a good idea when sawing or sanding wood.  tkay11 has it right, dose, exposure and sensitivity are all things that must be taken into acount when evaluating toxicity.  People that worked in US cotton mills of the 19th and early 20th century suffered lung problems from breathing cotton dust.  No longer a problem here but it still is a problem in developing countries.  Cotton isn't toxic but I wouldn't want to breath the dust from it for 20 years.

Thank you for putting this in proper perspective.

In my opinion; we, modelers and hobby wood workers, should be careful, but not get overly concerned when making 'saw dust' so once in a while.

 

While making furniture I have made oak dust numerous times, breathed it (never eaten oak), and I also know that other chemicals I have used may cause the dreaded disease. Now I do wear a simple dust mask (as well as having a dust collector on my sander). But it is not something I get overly concerned about.

Age 77 next month and going for 100.

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Water is one of our body's primary contents and one of our most necessary daily needs.  However jumping in a lake and trying to swim to China without any care of the consequences can be lethal.  Does that make you feel like swearing off water?  Used in conventional ways, such as drinking it for proper kidney flushing, is definitely not bad for your health.  It is a matter of using something in a reasonable and rational way.  Dust is an irritant. 

 

If you are sensible and protect your lungs from the particuates, It will not make you cough.  If you cough from being around it, use a filter.  That is sensible.

 

If it still makes you cough, then you may need to have a respirator that has filtering that prevents vapors or other toxicity of getting through.  And make sure to clean off yourself before removing it so you don't ingest that stuff later.  Proper Personal Protective Equipment can make a world of difference along with good sense. 

 

Walter Biles

Edited by Walter Biles
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Jaxboat,

 

I agree that the glasses fogging can be a problem. There are things that you can get over the counter that can help that issue. Ask a pharmacist or eye doctor about what can be used on your glasses to help prevent fogging, also, a good fitting mask usually hase some sort of former to help prevent leakage. Many of those filter masks just have an aluminum strip that you can form to your nose to help restrict your breath from feeding back on your glasses, but some sort of antifogging spray or wipe can help keep the glasses from fogging from what does get up to them.

 

I have been using Personal Protective Equipment for the last 3-4 decades because it was required for my job. You can find ways to make it work.

 

Walt Biles

Edited by Walter Biles
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  • 2 weeks later...

I do not like wearing dust masks either for the same reasons, plus I have a beard.  Instead, I hook up shop vacuums to my saws and sanders to catch most of the dust.   But some dust goes into the air. 

 

So, I made a CHEAP air filter.  It is a 20" box fan with a high quality 20" furnace filter taped to the intake side.  This helps clear the air. 

 

Note:  the saw dust that will injure you is the dust you cannot see, and the dust that is toxic.  If you are sensitized, then you will likely need to buy an air filter that will capture dust sized 5 microns, preferably 1 micron in size.  I am fortunate in that I do not have much sensitivity, yet. 

 

Have fun and stay healthy.                             Duff

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  • 2 months later...

All timbers that are RED are canceres.

The dryer they are the more the irritation on the skin.

And the dust inhaled from dry wood gets faster absorbed.

Some people can work with mahogany for years and suddenly the are allergic.

I have some problems with a lot of the New Zealand timbers never had any problems before, worked with them for over 30 years.

I means always be careful, and use dust extraction or masks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dust masks are good to use if you have your nose down near your sanding or when you are generating large amounts of dust suspended in the air. Don't need to worry about a dust mask if you let your nose hair grow naturally, that hair is there to protect you from dust. The one I watch closely is the consumption of tomatoes. It is a proven fact that everyone who ate tomatoes, raw or cooked in 1859 are dead now, I'm not taking any chances. ;):P

jud

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I gather that a few of us might sip the odd DRAM, I my self have been known to partake in the wicked liquid known as RUM. I am sure that as a few of you read this you will be sampling the finer points of the GRAPE 

Well guess what folks Wooden barrels and there poisons there in in-hanse there taste 

All Hale WOOD

Sorry about the spelling partaken tooooo much wood stuff

Hic Burp 

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  • 2 months later...

Years ago as I built out my first workshop, I found Cocobola. I loved the wood. I could take a rough piece of it, and mill it down and smooth it and finish it with just a bit of wax. Very hard, nicely figured. I made all sorts of things large and small out of it.

 

On an extended trip to Europe I started developing a rash. It continued to get worse, spreading all over my body and very itchy everyday. No creams would do anything to it. When I got home I saw a specialist and he told me that since the rashes were symmetrical, I was ingesting what ever I was allergic too. What I found it to be after some experimentation was the Cocobola. I had been using a pen I made on the lathe out of the wood. Since I only polished it, the natural oils in the wood were soaking into my skin every time I used it.

 

Then I found out Cocobola is considered a sensitizer. You start out fine, but the more you breath the dust, the more sensitive you become. I had breathed a great deal of the dust and had become highly allergic to the wood. I had to have Rob come into my shop and clean it down thoroughly wiping everything down, vacuuming everything that could be accessed. I could not use any of the tools until they had been thoroughly cleaned. It was a real pain to do.

 

So you should be aware if the types of wood you are working with. For me, I can never pick up another piece of Cocobola again. If I had worn the proper gear when. I was using it, I would be fine.

 

The information on these I types of wood characteristics are widely available now via the web. Just do,a search and you will find if there are any handling things you need to be aware of when working with it.

 

Bill

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  • 5 months later...

Luthiers are quite aware of the potential hazards of wood dust, especially of toxic woods.  Health problems that arise from exposure include COPD due to inhalation of  tiny particles (tiny <2 micron dust is 'not good') and the substances within the wood that cause allergenic reactions. Allergic reactions (typically respiratory or skin irritation) may occur during the first or any subsequent exposure, and the severity can be mild or terrible.  Cocobolo and cedars are well known for this.

 

Perhaps these links might be of interest.  The first is from Bill Pentz, who is somewhat of an 'authority' about wood dust and amelioration:

 

http://billpentz.com/woodworking/cyclone/

 

The second is a post of a HEPA-filtered dust collection system that I built a few weeks ago that works very well and was not very expensive.  It occupies 12 sq in (30cm) of floor space.  I've already built another one for a different area in my workshop:

http://www.mimf.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=3467

Edited by Bob Blarney
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