Now to overlook or minimize the importance of hearing, eye, and overall physical safety when dealing with power tools, it is the small stuff—the tiny and easily overlooked wood dust particles—that can cause the most long-term damage.
Basically, these tiny bits of sawdust float around the air and linger even after the tools have stopped running. The immediate effect is unnoticeable, but over long periods of time, this can result in significantly decreased lung capacity, and a number of other health issues. Irritants: The most common way that wood dust affects a woodworker is by being an irritant. This simply means that it can irritate our skin, our eyes, and our lungs.
Only a small number of people who inhale this dust actually develop hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Inhaling formaldehyde can cause burning sensations in the eyes, nose and throat and a range of other symptoms if higher levels are in the air. Diving medicine. Go back to Patient Education Resources. Paper dust may also be generated, even if to a lesser extent, during the storage stages of the material, as well as in post offices or in the sorting and storage areas of stationery. The less the exposure the larger and healthier were the brains.
This can mean reactions such as itching, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, rashes, and asthma-like breathing problems. Sensitizers: Taking things a step beyond being just irritating, some woods can make us more and more sensitive upon each successive exposure. Toxins: Not nearly as common, some wood is considered to be directly toxic. One example of this is Yew , which even according to ancient Roman knowledge, was capable of causing fatality in certain cases.
See the introduction of the article, Wood Allergies and Toxicity. That is, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma , or nasopharyngeal cancer.
To see a complete list of all the wood species, along with the most commonly reported reactions to their wood dust, see the Wood Toxicity and Allergen Chart. So, since there are a variety of operations that can be done, there are also a variety of protective measures. I have amassed over wood species on a single poster, arranged into eight major geographic regions, with each wood sorted and ranked according to its Janka hardness. Reuse this content.
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Most popular. The machines doing the grunt work loosen the dust and send it airborne where workers can breathe it in copiously. Contrary to what management and the union may say, paper dust can be a hazard to postal workers, causing and exacerbating respiratory problems.
Sorting machines could also theoretically disperse contaminants such as anthrax intentionally sent through the mail into postal facilities, further adding to the risk of the job. In the Fall of , more than current and former postal employees, many in the Chicago area, signed a petition to occupational health officials and postal unions blaming health problems on paper dust fibers inside post offices.
Some are seeking health benefits to pay for related medical treatment. The U. Postal Service USPS studied the issue in and found no direct link between health and postal dust, but did discover that sorting machines could send potentially carcinogenic volatile organic compounds such as ink and other irritants like dust mites, into the air.
Diligent cleaning of the machines can help keep the problem in check. He also recommends that post offices rotate their workers around to different duties to avoid perpetual exposure to potentially harmful or aggravating activities.