On the surface, wood dust seems harmless. It is a natural byproduct of woodworking projects, and it even smells good. But did you know that it can be dangerous? According to OSHA:
“Exposure to wood dust has long been associated with a variety of adverse health effects, including dermatitis, allergic respiratory effects, mucosal and nonallergic respiratory effects, and cancer.”
Wood comes from nature so these claims may seem far-fetched, but natural chemicals in the wood, or other substances such as bacteria, molds and fungi can have a negative impact on your health.
Who is at Risk?
Any occupations that work with wood such as carpenters, logging and sawmill workers, furniture and cabinet makers and shipbuilders all have increased health risks from the fine dust generated by common woodworking processes such as sawing, sanding, routing and shaping of the wood. Some workers such as construction workers and cleaning and maintenance staff who work in buildings where wood dust is created can also be impacted by wood dust.
Reducing the Risk of Wood Dust-Related Health Hazards
Some types of wood such as aspen and birch have limited negative health effects, but others such as beech, pine and cedar have numerous negative health effects that have been associated with them. Knowing which types of wood you are working with, and the risks associated with them is important, but taking basic precautions is also highly recommended:
- Wearing respiratory protection when necessary to avoid breathing the fine wood dust into your lungs.
- Using protective clothing to reduce the exposure of wood dust to your skin.
- Removing dust when cleaning by using a wet rag or mop, or use vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Wash carefully after working with wood to remove all dust from your skin.
But if you work with wood daily, these tips may not be enough. You (or your company) may need to have an industrial dust collector such as the DustHog C Series Cyclone dust extraction system, or an ambient or source-based industrial air filtration system such as the DustHog SCA or SCB series dust collector.
Need a Wood Dust Collection System That Works for Your Company?
Just give us a call at either (510) 822-5167 for Bay Area customers, or (530) 273-5474 for Sacramento Valley and Northern Nevada area customers, complete our online contact form, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with an industrial air filtration specialist today.