|Forum topic by cckeele||posted 10-22-2007 05:24 PM||3435 views||2 times favorited||18 replies|
10-22-2007 05:24 PM
Just a little info on this subject as I have read a few posts under cutting board projects where it seemed to be unclear as to what type of woods may be safe to use for direct cutting boards.
Mark Anderson, M.D.
May 1, 2000
There are various forms of toxicity caused by exposure to woods through dusts or by direct contact.
You can develop allergies following contact by touch or through the inhalation of dust. In other words, both large and small particles can sensitize you to the allergen. The reaction can be a skin or lung reaction. Skin reactions are generally itchy rashes. Lung reactions are generally chronic coughs or wheezing.
Other types of problems come from chronic exposure to dusts that are small enough to reach the small airways and alveoli. Dusts larger than 10 microns settle out in the upper airways. Less than 0.1 micron particles are so small that they don’t settle anywhere very much. They go in and out. Between 0.1 and 10 microns they reach the small airways and some of them stay.
The risk isn’t just cancer, but also scarring, inflamation and other damage, that eventually causes stiffening of the lungs so that the work of breathing increases. It’s not quite the same as your typical smokers emphysema, but it’s similar enough, and less responsive to treatment (e.g. antiinflamatories and bronchodilators).
Of course, woodworkers and boatbuilders can develop occur problems due to exposure to other materials such as epoxies and silicates. Glass, being basically silica, and of course colloidal silica, both could cause silicosis. Epoxies, particularly the hardeners, are well known as allergy sensitizers.
Asthma: Reversible airway obstruction, often with accompanying inflamation. Evidenced primarily by wheezing.
Bronchitis: Inflamation of airways (also not infectious here)
Bullae: Lung blisters – hollow areas that have no functional lung tissue and may pop, causing a pneumothorax.
Fibrosis: Scarring – leads to stiffness and impaired breathing
Granuloma: Non malignant tumors
Interstitial: The tissue of the lung that isn’t the airways or alveoli. Literally, “between cells”.
Mesothelioma: A cancer of the surface of the lung.
Pleural plaques: Deposits of material and scarring on the surface of the lung.
Pneumoconiosis: Lung disease caused by dust.
Pneumonitis: Inflamation of lung. (pneumonia), in this case not infectious.
Pneumothorax: Collapsed lung (partial or complete)
Rhinitis: Nasal inflamation, usually with a runny nose (rhinorrhea) and often with lots of sneezing if the cause is allergic.
Occupational Lung Diseases
1) Respiratory: E.g. asthma, rhinitis, mucosal inflamation
2) Skin and Eye: Contact dermatis (excema), conjunctivitis (itchy,
watery, red eye), pruritis (itch) and other rashes
Here’s a partial list (somewhat selected for boat building pertinence) on various dusts that cause occupational lung diseases:
Wood Type of Reaction
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health
International Labor Organization “Encyclopedia of Occupational Safety and Health”
“Sculpture in Wood” by Jack C. Rich, Da Capo Press, New York, 1977
“Toxic Woods” by Brian Woods and C.D. Calnan, British Journal of Dermatology, Vol. 95, Supplement 13, 1976
I’m afraid this list of woods may be incomplete because my sources are 20 old.
-- All donations should be made out to me and in the form of wood or tools ~Chris