Dangers of Sawdust

I just came out of my dungeon covered in sawdust and I wondered, "Is this stuff dangerous?"
Does anyone have a good reason why I should buy a shopvac?
Thanks.
eo
"I love the smell of sawdust in the morning."
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If I was mentioned in your will, I definitely would NOT want you to use a shop vac, or a mask, or a dust collector. That way I could count my money sooner.
dave
e.ontiveros wrote:

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I'll echo that. I had a moderate histamine reaction to cocobolo a few months ago... short of breath, blotchy rash. Nasty.
djb
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e.ontiveros asks:

Tell you what: run "hazards of wood dust" through google. Then, just to make you feel great, run COPD through right after it. Or do the COPD first.
Then go out and buy your shop vacuum. And a dust collector. And some masks and respirators.
Charlie Self
"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things." Dan Quayle, 11/30/88
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I have only been practicing this hobby for 2 or 3 years. When performing high-dust activities such as sanding or working on my lathe, I would use one of those "bra" dust masks or wrap a bandana over my nose and mouth. As an allergy sufferer I knew that I wanted to get a dust collector or better mask, but just never got around to it.
Then one day I noticed I was a little short of breath after being down in the workshop. This continued on and off over the next few weeks, but not necessarily coinciding with visits to the shop. Went to see my Allergist and ran through a battery of tests. Also ordered a GOOD dust mask and started wearing it religiously.
The good news: Not my allergies or permanent lung damage. Not-so-good news: Acid reflux causing a feeling of shortness of breath. Excellent benefit: Because of my "scare", I now protect my lungs properly whenever in the shop (or anywhere else where there is a dust hazard). I have found my mask to be very comfortable. Just slight discomfort when wearing it when temperature and humidity over 85 degrees/85%. This discomfort is STILL less than the sneezing and nose blowing I used to endure for (sometimes) hours after a session in the workshop.
Bottom line: Buy a good mask, or dust collector, or BOTH.
Happy breathing...
-Chris
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On Wed, 27 Aug 2003 07:54:52 -0700, Chris wrote:

Yes, it is. You don't want to breathe in any more than you have to. Sawdust is bad for your respiratory system. I have a large, spacious shopspace and rarely get much dust in the air, but even so I keep a shop vac around and religiously clean the shop every day when I'm done. I've got a bushbroom that I use to collect a pile, I pick out any big woodchips I may want for spacers, and then the shopvac inhales the rest. Only takes about 2 minutes.
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Get a good full face mask and protect your lungs and eyes at the same time. I like the Racal Airmate.
Phil
Chris wrote:

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Little over a year ago, I went out and bought a "good" shopvac (ridgid 12 gallon or something), purchased a "good" filter for it (2 microns or somesuch) for the TS, as it was generating way too much dust.
Dosen't work worth a fig. That is to say, with my open-back contractor's type saw there's just too much open area and the poor little vac can't keep up.
Ok, this brings up a good point. So I've read all the hazards of dust. I've done the "brown snot for hours" thing. I've also read that the nastiest dust is the tiniest. Soooo...other than for keeping the shop clean (a worthy goal, admittedly) do the 30, 10, or even 5 micron filters/bags really do anything in the long run? I mean, if they're letting those .5 micron particles out and they're the nasty ones...?
Then again, how _much_ wood dust is really sub .5 micron? How much is sub 5 micron? I'd assume MDF generates finer dust than, say, pine, but that's just an uneducated observation.
So I think I've got SWMBO convinced that we need a dust collector. A good one. But I wince at spending $900 for a cyclone with .5 micron filters - yet that seems to be the only way to "really" do it. (the jet cannisters only go down to 2 micron...most bags are 5-30 micron)
Oh yeah, and I have a 3 year old, a 1.5 year old, and one-on-the-way that tromp through the shop on a fairly regular basis. A mask would be all fine-and-good for me, but I don't want _them_ sucking in the stuff either! (no, they aren't in the shop when anything is on. Heck, they aren't in the shop when anything is plugged in!)
Anyone with some links to the actual size of wood dust?

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aaron asks:

Irrelevant. The shop vacuum, no matter how great, cannot keep up with most saws in full spate. And if the back's open, the problem is worse. Start by working out a way to seal the back of your TS. Use cardboard to form templates that allow the motor to tilt when needed. Then use 1/8" hardboard to form the final job (or use sheet metal). You'll still have a slot or so, but you've reduced losses by probably 90% if you've done a good job. Use a zero clearance insert for further reduction. Use a fitting on the bottom to feed into the vacuum...these can be duct taped in place, and most are designed to fit 4" DCs, not vacuums, but will work with reducers.
That's about all you can do.
Get one of the hanging air filters.

Keep the kids out of the shop when it isn't clean. It is YOUR playpen, not theirs.

Gotta be one somewhere. I haven't seen it, though.
Percentages of different micron sizes might be helpful, but probably not. Just filter as best you can, wear at least a dust mask, and be careful. It's a nasty world out there when you can't get your breath.
Charlie Self
"Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things." Dan Quayle, 11/30/88
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only go down to 2 micron...most bags are 5-30 micron) ...
A long story short --- I had been plagued with a persistent cough for a long time. I tried several medical approaches. Then it hit me. My basement shop was full of wood dust, and an old waterlogged drywell would allow water into the basement. I realized that I was being constantly exposed to mold.
I did two things: I installed a dust collection system, and, also as importantly, an air cleaner. The air cleaner has a 1500 CFM squirrel cage fan and four filter stages. I put on my respirator, blew out the shop with compressed air, shot over pipes and exposed ducts, left the cloudy room for about 20 minutes, and repeated this several times. My cough stopped soon after that and has never returned. I've since gotten a second identical cleaner.
Now, run the air cleaners any time a piece of machinery runs and I blow out the shop at least once a month.
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snipped-for-privacy@ajbacker.com (adb) wrote in message
<snip>

Here is a place to start:
http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/wooddust/index.html
Dust and noise made me go back to hand tools.
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This may be of interest - Triton seem to have covered both problems with this new product. see at www.triton.net.au/products/resp.html the price is very reasonable too. Tell me what you think. Lew

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Reasonable price and they work
You might want to have a look here, there again you might not :-) http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/showthread.php?s=&threadidF94&perpage &pagenumber=2

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On Wed, 27 Aug 2003 01:52:40 GMT, e.ontiveros wrote:

Well I remember reading a few months ago that fine sawdust particles were carcinogenic, but then I read several disputes afterward -- though by a company/association that definitely had something at stake by that assessment. So, take with a heavy grain of salt...
But other than worrying about cancer, lungs full of sawdust just don't work too well! Also many people have allergic reaction to the sawdust of some woods -- not just exotic species, either. The reaction can include skin rashes, not unlike poison ivy, but can also cause shortness of breath, wheezing, etc., much like emphysema.
And finally, watch out for open flames. If the sawdust mixes with air at the right levels, it isn't just combustible, but can be downright explosive. Boom!
Remember safety isn't just for things with a power cord, sharp blade, or lots of inertia. It also means your health in the long run.
david
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Unfortunately, it's the dust that is so small that is virtually invisible that is the most dangerous. As clean as you think your keeping your shop with a shopvac, it's a very good possibility that you're not doing much towards keeping the area healthy. Take a look at Bill Pentz's website. He talks quite a bit about the health risks and the level of attack needed to remove this small dust. HTH cc
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On Wed, 27 Aug 2003 13:25:22 -0700, James Cubby Culbertson wrote:

Thanks for the heads-up, I had no idea.
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