Customers - Wood Toxicity


Wood Toxicity

About Wood Toxicity

Prolonged exposure to wood dust contains potential dangers, which include possible skin and eye irritation, and respiratory effects. This will depend on wood species, and type, level, and duration of exposure. We have listed known effects in our species information pages located in our Products section of our website This section is to assist you in learning the effects of inhalation, skin, and eye contact.


Inhalation: Irritant, Sensitizer, and Carcinogen

Acute exposure, depending on the species of the tree, inhalation of wood dust may cause symptoms ranging from sneezing, coughing, rhinorrhea, fever, muscular aches and pains, labored breathing, nasopharyngitis, laryngitis, and bronchitis. The irruption caused by some wood dusts may cause sinus inflammation and nose bleeds. These symptoms may have attributed to an allergic type reaction and appear to be very species specific. Pulmonary sensitization to specific species has been documented. Pneumonitis and extrinsic allergic allveolitis may also occur among individuals that are susceptible to the wood dust. Studies have shown that this condition may be caused by the wood dust itself. There is the possibility that microorganisms inhabiting the wood may also be responsible fir the causing this condition in some individuals. Many of the more exotic woods have been reported to cause nausea and vomiting following inhalation; these woods have also reported to cause dizziness, giddiness, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Chronic exposure, repeated or prolonged exposure, may result in asthma and/or rhinitis. Studies have shown that occupational asthma is the result of irritation of the dust. Many woods are composed of biologically active chemical agents and these agents may play a role in cause the asthma’s. Cases of pulmonary fibrosis have been reported in individuals with long term exposure to wood dust. Nasal carcinomas, especially adenocarcinoma, have been documented in workers in the furniture and cabinet making industries. This excess risk occurs mainly in those exposed to wood dust. An increase in Hodgkin’s disease has been seen in other industries that are involved in woodworking, especially sawmills. Wood dusts appear to produce a mucostatic effect on the body. A study has suggested that this mucostatic action may be of importance in the development of nasal adenocarcinomas in furniture workers because of the prolonged retention of wood dust in the nasal cavity.

First Aid: Remove from exposure area to fresh air immediately. If breathing has stopped, perform artificial respiration. Keep person warm and at rest. Get medical attention immediately.


Skin Contact: Irritant and Sensitizer

All wood dusts have been implicated in causing irritation. This irritation may be the result of mechanical means and/or chemical agents. Mechanically caused irruption is the result of dust particles being trapped in the clothes of the worker or producing abrasions. The chemical agents may cause contact dermatitis with redness, scaling, and itching. Severe cases may progress to blistering of the skin. The areas that are most often affected are the face, eyelids, hands and forearms. Splinters from some hardwoods may produce septic wounds that may take an extremely long time to heal.

Chronic exposure, repeated or prolonged exposure, may result in allergic dermatitis. Sensitization reactions may be mild with only erythema and irritation, but more often there is vesicular or papular dermatitis which may progress to chronic dermatitis.

First Aid: A thorough cleansing of the body, each day as a minimum, is necessary in the prevention of adverse sections to wood dust. Any wound resulting from splinters or abrasions should be cleaned thoroughly. Splinters should be removed as quickly as possible by qualified medical personnel. If an infection from a splinter wound occurs, seek prompt medical attention. Remove and wash contaminated clothing at the end of each day.


Eye Contact: Irritant

Direct contact with wood dust may cause irritation and inflammation. Mechanical damage of the cornea may also occur.

Chronic exposure, repeated or prolonged exposure, may cause conjunctivitis.

First Aid: Wash eyes immediately with large amounts of water, occasionally lifting upper and lower lids, until no evidence of chemical remains (approximately 15-20 minutes). Get medical attention immediately.



First Aid: Treat symptomatically and supportively. Get medical attention immediately. If vomiting occurs, keep head lower than hips to prevent aspiration.

Antidote No specific antidote. Treat symptomatically and supportively.


For California Customers

According to the California Health and Safety Code Section 25249.6, as of December 18, 2010, by purchasing this product you have a duty to inform your retail customers that they must provide a clear and reasonable warning to any customer who purchases wood products, and you must take reasonable steps to ensure that the warning is properly posted at the retail outlet. The following warning should be posted at points of sale or points of display of the wood products in California retail outlets so it will be seen by the ultimate purchaser of the wood products:

WARNING: Drilling, sawing, sanding or machining wood products generates wood dust, a substance known to the State of California to cause cancer. Avoid inhaling wood dust or use a dust mask or other safeguards for personal protection.

Information contained on this page are suggested handling methods for informational purposes only and is not for relief of responsibilities for customers. The information contained is a guide to educate of potential hazards and is not considered definitive by any means.