Serious Health Concerns For Woodworkers

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Breathing sawdust is not healthy; it can be allergenic, toxic and carcinogenic. The sawdust from some imported woods, including teak, is particularly harmful and is know to cause skin rashes and repertory problems several studies have shown that woodworkers have a high rate of nasal cancers.

Because even a little sawdust can clog sinuses and aggravate allergies, try to wear a mask whenever you make dust, whether it’s from machinery or sandpaper or sweeping the floor.

Masks range from thin paper with an elastic strap to the thick rubber with a replaceable toxic-fume-proof filter. They heavy-duty masks are generally unpleasant to wear so some compromise will need to be made between efficiency and comfort.

Some of the solvents and finishes used in furniture finishing are also allergenic, toxic and carcinogenic. Petroleum distillates in commercial oil finishes, naphtha and benzene are all suspicious of contamination.

Because many of these solvents are toxic to the human body by breathing or through skin contact, it’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves and a toxic-vapor mask when working with them.

Wood shop accidents happen in an instant, especially with power tools. The results can be irreversible and even life-threatening. Your first line of defense against mishaps is really simple; Think Before Acting. Respect the capabilities and dangers of your tools and know how to use them safely.

Plan your work so you can get help lifting or moving heavy objects. Set high standards for tool maintenance and operations. Never use dull blades or bits. Remove guards and other safety devices only when absolutely necessary. And keep your work area clear of debris and clutter.

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