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WOOD TOXICITY
or, why you should wear a face mask and long sleeves


Some woods can cause adverse reactions in some people some of the time. This can happen due to contact with the leaves, the dust of the wood, or just the wood itself. I have personally had one severe adverse reaction from breathing cocobolo dust and a minor skin irritation which I believe to have been caused also by cocobol dust, and a severe eye problem, also caused by cocobolo dust. Other people have reported more frequent and more severe reactions and from various woods. I found this chart on the internet and present it here for your edification. It was listed as having first appeared in American Woodturner June 1990. There is a legend at the bottom and below that there are some links to other articles on wood toxicity.
Wood		Reaction	Site	Potency	Source	Incidence
----		--------	----	-------	------	---------
Bald Cypress	S		R	+	D	R
Balsam Fir	S		E,S	+	LB	C
Beech		S,C		E,S,R	++	LB,D	C
Birch		S		R	++	W,D	C
Black Locust	I,N		E,S	+++	LB	C
Blackwood	S		E,S	++	W,D	C
Boxwood		S		E,S	++	W,D	C
Cashew		S		E,S	+	W,D	R
Cocobolo	I,S		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Dahoma		I		E,S	++	W,D	C
Ebony		I,S		E,S	++	W,D	C
Elm		I		E,S	+	D	R
Goncalo Alves	S		E,S	++	W,D	R
Greenheart	S		E,S	+++	W,D	C
Hemlock		C		R	?	D	U
Iroko		I,S,P		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Mahogany	S,P		S,R	+	D	U
Mansonia	I,S		E,S	+++	W,D	C
		N			+	D
Maple (Spalted)	S,P		R	+++	D	C
Mimosa		N			?	LB	U
Myrtle		S		R	++	LB,D	C
Oak		S		E,S	++	LB,D	R
		C			?	D	U
Obeche		I,S		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Oleander	DT		N,C	++++	D,W,LB	C
Olivewood	I,S		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Opepe		S		R	+	D	R
Padauk		S		E,S,R	+	W,D	R
Pau Ferro	S		E,S	+	W,D	R
Peroba Rosa	I		R,N	++	W,D	U
Purpleheart			N	++	W,D	C
Quebracho	I		R,N	++	LB,D	C
		C			?	D	U
Redwood		S,P		E,S,R	++	D	R
		C			?	D	U
Rosewoods	I,S		E,S,R	++++	W,D	U
Satinwood	I		E,S,R	+++	W,D	C
Sassafras	S		R	+	D	C
		DT		N	+	D,W,LB	R
		C			?	D	U
Sequoia		I		R	+	D	R
Snakewood	I		R	++	W,D	R
Spruce		S		R	+	W,D	R
Walnut, Black	S		E,S	++	W,D	C
Wenge		S		E,S,R	+	W,D	C
Willow		S		R,N	+	D,W,LB	U
West. Red Cedar	S		R	+++	D,LB	C
Teak		S,P		E,S,R	++	D	C
Yew		I		E,S	++	D	C
		DT		N,C	++++	W,D	C
Zebrawood	S		E,S	++	W,D

REACTION:		SITE:		SOURCE:		  INCIDENCE:
I  - irritant		S - skin	D  - dust	  R - rare
S  - sensitizer		E - eyes	LB - leaves,bark  C - common
C  - nasopharyngeal	R - respiratory	W  - wood	  U - uncommon
     cancer
P  - pheumonitis,	C - cardiac
     alveolitis
     (hypersensitivity 
      pneumonia)
DT - direct toxin
N  - nausea, malaise


References:
1. Woods Toxic to Man, author unknown
2. Woods, B., Calnan, C.D., "Toxic Woods." Br. Journal of Dermatology 1976
3. ILO Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety 1983
4. Lame, K., McAnn, M., AMA Handbook of Poisonous and Injurious Plants, AMA 1985
5. Poisondex, Micromedix Inc. 1990


Links to articles and tables on Wood Toxicity

Health Hazards & Wood - table compiled by U-Beaut Neil Ellis
Toxicity of Wood - from the Woodbox.com