I can't believe what I heard today...

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I ran into a guy today at Wal-Mart in the tool section that told me about his friend that had been hospitalized from either a bacterial infection or a viral infection he got from using some old lumber in the back of his shed. I'm still a novice, but Wow! This seems a bit far fetched. Has anyone ever heard of anything like this before?
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I have not been hospitalized, but remodeling has led me to some pretty nasty materials. If the lumber from the back of his shed was covered in some kind of mold (I am thinking exposed to the air, and to water that didn't drain or dry - you know, the pile of shit lumber that we are going to use later) that was particularly thick and nasty, I could see it. I have torn out bathrooms and has molded boards rub across my arms without piercing the skin that have raised red marks and tiny blisters.
If there was something in the grain of the wood, he cut it or sanded it, and inhaled the dust, he could have gotten something nasty.
Bacterial? Maybe. Viral? Probably not. An allergic reaction? Quite probably.
For more than you can chew on this subject, go to the woodworking rec and search for spalted wood turning. Spalted wood - wood streaked with mold and fungus - is highly prized (I force spalt some of mine) for turning as it gives wood tremendous character. However, many have claimed all manner of ailments from turning this stuff, and it has gained national attention from its dangers in the turning community.
When I was too stupid to wear my dust mask, it sure got me. I was turning spalted pecan. I felt like I had bronchitis for a couple of days after turning and sanding the piece, all the while inhaling the dust. Now I but quality throw away dust masks and use them every time.
Try Googling "spalted wood danger" and you will be surprised at all the hits.
Robert
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Have had some run ins with a few fungus on old boards that made me sneeze and once with one that looked like leather, and burned to the touch. Guess they could give you problems if they got in you lungs. Had a lot more trouble with dust then anything else doing with wood.

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wrote:

Possibly mold, but the reason that wood is the preferred material for food cutting boards (rather than the various plastics that have shown up) is that bacteria doesn't like it. It is not a fertile material for the propogation of bacteria or viruses, so it seems unlikely that is the source of the problem.
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Well, I guess you haven't been in an leaky shower for a while. Or seen an old woodpile, or been behind he old timer's house that has wood he was saving for "that project" for many years. I have loaded wood into dumpsters that was so decayed that it was swept up and shoveled into a wheel barrow first.
If bacteria and fungii didn't break down wood, why does it decay? What causes it to rot? Why do I have a gold colored mold on one side and white/black mold/fungus on the other side of a large log I have been too lazy to split for a few years?
Wood will easily sustain mold and fungus. Properly maintained wood will not. Some woods will rot and attract fungus more than others (this is why spalted oak is rare compared to spalted maple).
So I think, personally, that while "old wood" could mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, if it has been improperly stored or cared for it could easily have mold and fungus growing on it.
OP wasn't talking about new lumberyard material.
Robert
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He didn't say "bacteria and fungi," he said "bacteria and viruses."

Fungi.
Because damp wood readily supports the growth of fungi.

Certainly it could. But the discussion concerned bacteria and viruses.
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Feb 15, 4:56 pm, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Also, unless his friend is one of HG Wells' Martians, the bacteria associated with putrefaction (rot) are unlikely to make him sick.
Bodies left unburied in the aftermath of a hurricane or tsunami are gross, but not a health hazard. If the people were not sick when they died, they can't spread disease to the living.
Disease causing microbes require a living host. So even when the victim succumbed to an infectious or contagious disease, by the time the body starts to rot, disease causing microbes within it are likely to be long-gone.
There are exceptions like anthrax, rabies, and others which can survive for years in a dormant state--usually after voiding the host, but most die within hours of the host.
You can get rabies from breathing the dust coming off of old wood IF it has batshit on it and the bats were rabid. You might be able to get hantavirus from rodent urine on it.
I'll agree with the others in this thread that the most likely culprit is a toxic, allergic, or auto- immune reaction to mold or fungus in the wood.
It is pretty important to avoid breathing dust, but especially dust contaminated with mold or fungus, regardless of the source.
--
FF





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"Frank Boettcher" wrote in message

Could well not be.
A couple of years ago I had a severe bacterial lung infection.
Doc's were trying to blame it on woodworking until a lab technician happened to ask if I'd cleaned out a barbeque pit lately. Sure enough, three days before the symptoms hit me, I had cleaned out two barbeque pits.
Lab technician said that if they've just asked him earlier, he could have told them how common it was to come down with a bacterial lung infection after cleaning a barbeque pit.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 2/07/07
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As the body musters itself to attack the mold or the toxins they manufacture, it often becomes more vulnerable to the spread of bacteria it otherwise would have an easy time controlling.
In the case of ashes, I suspect a large dose of alkalosis might have been the factor.
Note that winter, with its low indoor relative humidity produces more lung infections. Keep your parents' homes humidified, they'll breathe better and live longer. As long as you don't get it humid enough to foster molds....
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Two comments;
Isn't just like a doc (or the MIL) to blame woodworking for anything that ails ya??
I am going to wear a super gas mask/filter when I clean out the barbecue from now on! Maybe even a full fledged hazmat suit.
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Lee Michaels wrote:
> I am going to wear a super gas mask/filter when I clean out the barbecue > from now on! Maybe even a full fledged hazmat suit.
OK, I'll bite.
How do you clean your barbecue?
I fire up a 500,000 BTU propane torch and burn mine clean.
Quick, fast, cheap, and neat.
Lew
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Wood is a preferred material for a cutting board if you clean it after use. Toss a cutting board out in the yard for a few months and see if your statement still rings true.
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On Thu, 15 Feb 2007 22:05:47 GMT, "Leon"

Left long enough fungi and insects will cause it to decay. I still don't think it will be harmful to humans from contact alone. The point I was making is that wood kept off the ground is not a good propogation site for bacteria.
Not a biologist, I simply read several university studies on cutting board materials and their relative safety from bacteria when I was making a few cutting boards. I thought the man made materials would be better. I was wrong based on what I read.
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In the southern states many insurances companies are opting out coverage of mold and mildew on home owners insurance. That stuff lives on the wood inside walls in damp areas like bathrooms. It costs a fortune to remediate.
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On Fri, 16 Feb 2007 00:12:38 GMT, "Leon"

Well that's better than opting out of all coverage. State Farm just announced that, because of the untenable legal environment in Mississippi, they will write no new policies. Started out just no policies south of Interstate 10, but as of two days ago, statewide.
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IMHO insurance companies should not be able to pick and choose their areas of coverage and change in a moments notice. We had the same happen here in 2001 when Houston flooded. The insurance companies love to lobby to make some insurance mandatory but other insurance unavailable if it does not suit them. Unlike most companies, it is extremely rare for an insurance company to not show a yearly profit.
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<snip>

There's a couple of thoughts on that.
Usually, it's a means of applying political pressure on certain regulatory and legal bodies to get certain measures passed.
It irritates their policy holders, particularly newer ones. It really irritates their agents, particularly the newer ones, who make much of their income by selling policies.
They are a mutual company, owned, pretty much, by their policy holders. If they cannot balance the risks, financially, across their base, they have to adjust the base. Sometimes, not adding new policies is the way they do it. They don't like it, either.
My dad was a State Farm Agent for 35 years. I've never been one, but I've been their customer for longer than that.
Things will settle out. The Gulf Coast still is a long ways from settled from the storms, and will be for a while. State Farm will be back in the new policy game at some time, is my guess. They are in and out in California, too.
8 years ago, I had to replace my wood shake roof, or find a new insurance company. I'd only been their customer for 30 years or so at that point. Stuff happens.
Patriarch
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On Fri, 16 Feb 2007 17:04:01 -0600, Patriarch

In this case it is a State Attorney General, a U. S. Senator, A U. S. district Representative trying to make political hay and "save" the population. They are aligned with a very well known and successful class action attorney. And we know whats in it for him.
There has already been one case ruled upon and in addition to settling the claim, a two million dollar punitive award was given. Multiply that by 10,000 and you begin to see the problem.
Each year I get a renewal notice on my policy and there is separate page in the renewal package with a message in very large, bold face type. It simply states that "your property is not covered from damages due to rising water from any source no matter the nature and cause of the rising water. Because of your location you are not required to have federally subsidized flood insurance but it is available if you feel you need it. The procedure for obtaining this flood insurance is.......You should consider this risk and act appropriately"
I don't have state farm HO but assume all insurers send out this boilerplate message.
The rising water did the damage. The cases are based on the fact that the "wind drove the water in" , or the damage was done before the water got there.
Katrina was a tragedy of epic proportions. Many of my friends and relatives were impacted as was I in a minor way (lost about $5K in woodworking supplies and machinery that were remotely stored and not covered because of the rising water. But I can assure you the answer is not to litigate private companies out of the state which will only limit competition and raise rates or deductibles that would make the policy meaninless.
Frank

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Just homeowners policies are stopped, they will still take your money for auto and life and what ever else they write policies for. Otherwise every State Farm agent in Mississippi would be out of a job, except for handling current policies.
Frank Boettcher wrote:

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On Feb 15, 4:56 pm, Frank Boettcher

No Frank, you were NOT wrong in context of cutting boards. I am an avid cook and have not only read the same things you have, but followed the debates over the years. I think it was proven to just about everyone's satisfaction that wooden cutting boards are even more safe than plastic in the home environment.
And I agree with you that wood kept off the ground is not a good site for bacterial growth. With those qualifiers, I agree with your original response.
Perhaps I should have been a little more careful in my original response, too. I didn't mean to offend.
Robert
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