Many workers across the nation are exposed to wood dusts at sawmills, wood processing facilities and during construction and renovation activities. In 2009, California’s Proposition 65 list added wood dust as a substance known to the State of California to cause cancer.
Wood dust becomes a potential health problem when wood particles become airborne. Wood dust can be created when wood is cut, drilled, sanded, machined or processed. Breathing these particles can cause allergic respiratory symptoms, mucosal and non-allergic respiratory symptoms, irritation to the eyes, nose and throat, pulmonary function impairment, and even cancer. Western red cedar dust has even been shown to cause asthma.
In response to health concerns over worker exposure to wood dusts, the Institute for Safety and Health Management (ISHM) has recently sponsored an educational video about the topic. Larry Curtis, CSHM, Executive Director of the ISHM, stated, “Several entities have set standards, or given recommendations, for wood dust exposure. These include OSHA, NIOSH, and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH). Health effects associated with worker exposure to wood dust comes not only from the wood dust itself, but also from biological organisms such as mold that can grow on the wood. Chemicals, including formaldehyde, copper naphthanate, and pentachlorophenol, are also sometimes used in the processing of some woods and are yet another health risk to workers. We hope this new video helps to educate workers, managers and the public about the risks associated with exposure to wood dust.”
The new video discussing exposure to wood dust can be seen at:
|Wood Dust Exposure Hazards|