Allergic Reactions to Wood

      Sawmiller show and tell about rashes and respiratory reactions to contact with various wood species. October 20, 2005

This batch of really painful blisters on my arms was caused by the sawdust from a batch of teak I was planing. My face has always been that way.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
Contact dermatitis caused by teak? That looks bad. I've reacted to fresh black walnut, and will be milling some teak soon. Thanks for the heads-up - I'll be careful...

My forearms have been itching like crazy lately. I've been resawing Bloodwood, Leopardwood, and Purpleheart. Anyone out there react to any of those?

I had a similar reaction to OSB, of all things. Much smaller dots from t-shirt sleeve to the wrist.

I don't get the skin irritations, but I definitely get the lung effects. Padauk seems to be the worst. Every time I cut and sand it, it feels like fire is crawling up my nose. Bocote is nasty, too. The first time I cut it I thought I was back in the gas chamber at Basic Training breathing CS gas. A reaction to OSB is pretty common. I'm a framing carpenter, and I always react to it. My nose immediately plugs up and starts running, and I sneeze repeatedly throughout the day. Itís not the wood (since it's just poplar) - it's the formaldehyde. OSB emits formaldehyde gas for quite a few days after it's made.

I heard teak swells testicles in men overexposed to the oil in the wood. Also, ironwood sawdust from the southwest US is bad on lungs.

The comments below were added after this Forum discussion was archived as a Knowledge Base article (add your comment).

Comment from contributor N:
I got an almost identical reaction (smaller blisters) when I was milling fresh green walnut logs with the bark still on last summer. I can't seem to find a huge amount of information about it, but I'm under the impression that the juglone toxin concentration is higher in the bark and underlying tissue than in the heartwood. In any case, I got less of a reaction (and less orange-brown stains on my exposed skin) the last time I milled a log, and used a bark spud to remove the bark first!

Would you like to add information to this article?
Interested in writing or submitting an article?
Have a question about this article?

Have you reviewed the related Knowledge Base areas below?
  • KnowledgeBase: Knowledge Base

  • KnowledgeBase: Dust Collection, Safety, Plant Management

  • KnowledgeBase: Dust Collection, Safety, Plant Management: Material Handling

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing

  • KnowledgeBase: Primary Processing: Sawmilling

    Would you like to add information to this article? ... Click Here

    If you have a question regarding a Knowledge Base article, your best chance at uncovering an answer is to search the entire Knowledge Base for related articles or to post your question at the appropriate WOODWEB Forum. Before posting your message, be sure to
    review our Forum Guidelines.

    Questions entered in the Knowledge Base Article comment form will not generate responses! A list of WOODWEB Forums can be found at WOODWEB's Site Map.

    When you post your question at the Forum, be sure to include references to the Knowledge Base article that inspired your question. The more information you provide with your question, the better your chances are of receiving responses.

    Return to beginning of article.

    Refer a Friend || Read This Important Information || Site Map || Privacy Policy || Site User Agreement

    Letters, questions or comments? E-Mail us and let us know what you think. Be sure to review our Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact us to discuss advertising or to report problems with this site.

    To report a problem, send an e-mail to our Webmaster

    Copyright © 1996-2021 - WOODWEB ® Inc.
    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner without permission of the Editor.
    Review WOODWEB's Copyright Policy.

    The editors, writers, and staff at WOODWEB try to promote safe practices. What is safe for one woodworker under certain conditions may not be safe for others in different circumstances. Readers should undertake the use of materials and methods discussed at WOODWEB after considerate evaluation, and at their own risk.

    WOODWEB, Inc.
    335 Bedell Road
    Montrose, PA 18801

    Contact WOODWEB

  • WOODWEB - the leading resource for professional woodworkers

      Home » Knowledge Base » Knowledge Base Article