LumberJocks

Wood allergies

  • Advertise with us

« back to Safety in the Woodworking Shop forum

Forum topic by ibewjon posted 07-10-2020 02:34 AM 482 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1781 posts in 3602 days


07-10-2020 02:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: safety wood allergies

I did not know a woodworking friend, (mostly a turner) had an alergy to a wood that he never told me about. About a month ago, he was turning some of it and apparently breathed enough dust to cause a serious reaction. He made it about 200’ from shop to the kitchen. He was alone, and tried to get a treatment. His wife got home and found him dead on the kitchen counter. Apparently the trouble breathing had caused a heart attack. He was never to work that wood alone. I will find out what type of wood caused the problem at the appropriate time, and update this. Be careful with exotics and other woods which you are or may be sensitive to please. Tools, machines and electricity are not the only dangers in the shop.


18 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

5963 posts in 1383 days


#1 posted 07-10-2020 05:17 AM

The thing to know about allergic reaction, is you may have eaten, used, been exposed hundreds, or thousands of times before you ever have a reaction. So if you get a red, raised rash while eating or doing something, take it seriously. Really seriously if it causes even a bit of shortness of breath, or any sensation of a tight throat.

Most people once they sensitize to a substance, have problems quicker with repeated exposures, and the events also get worse in most cases, so it’s not like it will go away, or get better.

For most wood allergies are just a skin rash, so not allowing it to touch your skin will sometimes work. That said if it causes a respiratory hardship, just stay away from the offender.

Sorry to hear about your friends fate.

-- Think safe, be safe

View controlfreak's profile

controlfreak

960 posts in 410 days


#2 posted 07-10-2020 01:32 PM

Sorry to hear about your friend. I guess the move the air cleaner / filter up the project list a bit.

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

7713 posts in 3074 days


#3 posted 07-10-2020 01:38 PM

That’s unbelievably tragic.

View wildwoodbybrianjohns's profile

wildwoodbybrianjohns

1831 posts in 356 days


#4 posted 07-10-2020 02:24 PM

What a horrible story. Sympathies go out to you and all concerned.

I had a reaction to olivewood the first time I machined it. And I really hate the smell of the dust. But havent had any reactions since, and I am working it alot because thats what most people want here on Majorca.

-- Wildwood by Brian Johns: The Big Bang: Nothing - exploded into Everything. Thanks to Nothing.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

4812 posts in 2797 days


#5 posted 07-10-2020 02:27 PM

Tragic…I always have my cell phone with me for emergencies.

Allergic reactions are dangerous. I ended up in the hospital for a coup!e days after a reaction to a Sulfa antibiotic. I went into the emergency room and told them I was having a reaction and trouble breathing. They immediately started treatment.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1781 posts in 3602 days


#6 posted 07-10-2020 02:44 PM

Thanks for your thoughts. Even though he was not on this site, it is a sad loss of a great craftsman.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1781 posts in 3602 days


#7 posted 07-10-2020 02:44 PM

Thanks for your thoughts. Even though he was not on this site, it is a sad loss of a great craftsman.

View 23tony's profile

23tony

43 posts in 978 days


#8 posted 07-10-2020 03:45 PM

Really sorry about your friend, but thank you for sharing. It never even occurred to me that a wood allergy was a possibility.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

5963 posts in 1383 days


#9 posted 07-10-2020 05:05 PM



Really sorry about your friend, but thank you for sharing. It never even occurred to me that a wood allergy was a possibility.

- 23tony

This might be a good read for you then.

https://www.wood-database.com/wood-articles/wood-allergies-and-toxicity/

The reality is you, are probably like most of us, we have been hip deep in sawdust, and never the first experience with itchy, scratchy, from it. But should you be one of the unlucky, it’s good to have knowledge of it’s potential.

-- Think safe, be safe

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

14562 posts in 1947 days


#10 posted 07-10-2020 07:38 PM

Sorry to hear about your friend. Definitely something we all need to take to heart and keep in mind.

Morado (Bolivian Rosewood) is the only wood that bothers me. If I don’t remember to wear gloves when I work with it and I get dust on my hands and arms, they will turn red and itch for several days. No other woods, not even other Rosewoods, do that to me. And fortunately, I’ve never had a respiratory reaction but I’m also pretty diligent about putting my respirator on when I’m doing anything that makes fine dust.

Stay safe LJs.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View AndyJ1s's profile

AndyJ1s

362 posts in 564 days


#11 posted 07-10-2020 11:09 PM

Sorry to hear about your friend.

Unfortunately, wood lathes are among the hardest machines from which to effectively collect generated dust.

Therefore, dust masks, face shields and protective clothing offer more effective mitigation, especially in conjunction with conventional collection and air filtering, for those that are allergic to wood and/or wood dust.

-- Andy - Arlington TX

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

1781 posts in 3602 days


#12 posted 07-10-2020 11:19 PM

Thanks for the thoughts. I j ust wanted to alert all readers because I am sure there are times we have all done something unsafe because it’s quicker, or easier, or whatever reason or excuse we use to justify it. I am sure, although he was well trained in safety precautions through work, he probably thought it’s just a little sanding, or whatever he actually was doing. Maybe left off the respirator for a minute, or working alone when he knew not to work that wood alone. Once this virus clears a bit more here in Illinois, I want to visit his wife and get more details to share and hopefully spare someone else a problem.

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

3187 posts in 2607 days


#13 posted 07-11-2020 12:25 AM

I’m highly allergic to Bubinga .
I’ve also been warning woodworkers for years about the toxicity of exotic woods.
Some of the most poisonous frogs in the rain forest are very colorful. Exotic woods that are red ,yellow,purple same concept. Natures way of telling us watch out stay away.
So sorry to hear about your friend ibewjon.

-- Aj

View CaptainKlutz's profile (online now)

CaptainKlutz

3374 posts in 2303 days


#14 posted 07-11-2020 03:04 AM

Sorry to read the tragic news. :-(

Thought everyone is aware there are more dangers than dust and cutting yourself? Sigh.

I have dealt various tree pollen allergies all my life, So have to be extra cautious.
Have a skin reaction to every wood on the Wood Database list that I have worked with and has 3+ stars.
Rosewood and Bubinga trigger my asthma unless I use N100 respirator. Picked a slab of Alligator Juniper cheap once. Trimmed the ends off to check moisture and had to stop for inhaler. Gave that slab away cheap. Tried to use some spalted maple many years ago, and had to use epi pen for that encounter due mold spores.
Even some of the 2 star woods are randomly challenging. Sanding red oak without a N100 mask gives me flu like symptoms for 3-5 days afterwards, while white oak gives me no problems?
Wood allergies are real, but I like working wood to much to stop?

Thanks for reminding all of danger, despite the grim outcome.

Be Safe, not Sorry.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3867 posts in 2031 days


#15 posted 07-11-2020 02:30 PM

I’ve always been allergic to juniper pollen, mainly makes me turn into a walking snot ball. You know the stuff, throat cheese, lung butter…

I love using the local juniper wood but the same effect if I breath in any of the dust while cutting or sanding, but fortunately I only need to engage the DC to take care of any issues.

showing 1 through 15 of 18 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com