Wood Dust Hazard - Any Adverse Experiences?

I am curious how many people out there know of someone who has lung cancer or some other serious ailment which is suspected to be attributable to his exposure to wood dust. I suspect the risk level is fairly low.
Don't get me wrong, the stuff is messy, gets into everything, is an overall pain and can make good finishing work hard to do. I have no desire to breath quantities of it in (although I do enjoy the smell in the air after cutting hickory and walnut). Yet, my grandfather ran a woodshop for 30 years (age 40 - 70). It would be generous to call the dust collection he used as primitive. Generally he went without and just swept up. At this point he is 80 and has no health problems attributable to it (I know, 1 data point doesn't make any headway toward being a credible study).
Now the craft is mine, and I do keep things orderly. With a well engineered dust collection system and air purification we can keep things fairly tidy, but not perfect. There is obviously residual exposure beyond what is captured - especially around a handheld router, etc.
Any thoughts on the level of risk?
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It is mostly the fine dust which gives people, and particularly people with allergies, the most problems. It's not the wood chips. Many exotic woods also contain carcinogens which are harmful. There has been a lot of literature written about this. I have, as part of my DC system, a single stage dust collector with a 5-micron bag, an air filtration unit and a couple of portable vacs. In addition I always use a dust mask. Prevention is the best cure I know of.
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I am a Radiation Therapist and I work directly with cancer patients everyday......I have treated hundreds of lung cancer patients over the years. In my experience 99.9% of the people I have treated have gotten lung cancer from direct or secondary cigarette smoke, or some type of prolonged asbestos exposure. That's not to say it cant happen.......the dust from wood can cause a myriad of other problems.....Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) being one of them....Just my 2 cents......hopefully some of the old timers in this group could offer some of their experiences with wood dust exposure.

overall
breath
cutting
is
engineered
tidy,
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Personal observation, not scientific study, having worked in my son's home medical business.
Most people with COPD are over 60, smokers, often worked in environments that had dust or other impurities, such as woolen mills, welding, shipbuilding, wood shops, etc. It is something that can take a long time to develop, something that can be prevented or at least lessened in severity.
That dust you inhale today won't bother you tomorrow, but can be a real PITA in five or ten or twenty years. Wear that dust mask, buy that dust collector.
While on the subject of health concerns. Not to many years ago, latex gloves were something that a doctor used for an exam. Today I see them used by forklift mechanics, compressor servicemen, boiler repair men, etc. It is not a sissy thing to protect your hands from oils and chemicals.
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Well, I'll go with the experts on this:
WOODD-DUST-EXPOSURE NASAL-CANCER
WOOD DUST AND SINO-NASAL CANCER: POOLED REANALYSIS OF TWELVE CASE-CONTROL STUDIES Data from 12 case control studies conducted in seven countries were pooled and reanalyzed in an effort to examine the relationship between wood dust and sino/nasal cancer. There was a high risk of adenocarcinoma among male employees in wood related occupations, with the greatest risk found for those in jobs with the highest wood dust exposure and increased duration of exposure. The risk of adenocarcinoma was also greater among women employed in wood related jobs. An excess of squamous cell carcinoma appeared in women in dust exposed jobs, which increased with the duration of exposure, but only men employed for 30 or more years showed an increased risk of squamous cell carcinoma. The authors conclude that the study provides strong support to the link between wood dust exposure with various occupations and the risk of sino/nasal adenocarcinoma, but the evidence with regard to squamous cell carcinomas is ambiguous.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 28(2):151-166, 1995. (36 references)
http://infoventures.com/osh/abs/wood0002.html
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wrote:

Not very helpful. "high", "... also greater", "an excess of .." "increased risk" are all very fuzzy assertions. What is the definition of higher risk? Twice as likely? 4 times? These are important questions since epidemiological studies generally consider anything less than 2 times as great to be down in the noise and inconclusive -- especially when dealing with cause and effect kind of numbers over the lifetimes of individuals. Often there are many confounding factors.
Note, I'm not recommending that people ignore the hazards of wood dust -- just the annoyance should be enough to make one wear a dusk mask. However, the "moon-suited" woodworker is probably going overboard.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety
Army General Richard Cody +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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times
dust --

However,
Up to five hundred times as high as non woodworkers, 500/1000000. Says one vague reference. Study not controlled for dust versus exposure to solvents and urea-formaldehyde glues....
Overall, there's probably a greater risk of cancer from taking your breaks out in the sun on the driveway. Wear a hat, boys and girls!
For those who wish to be scared by experts : http://rex.nci.nih.gov/NCI_Pub_Interface/raterisk/riskstoc.html
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On Fri, 04 Feb 2005 20:23:28 -0700, Mark & Juanita

I'm sure all those questions are answered in the study itself. It wouldn't get into a peer-reviewed journal without a lot of hard numbers and methodology.
--RC Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad
-- Suzie B
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On Sun, 06 Feb 2005 06:30:52 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote:

... snip

I'm sure numbers are in the study, but citing the study abstract as proof does not help. There are cases where some researchers have treated small correlations as "statistically significant" only to be refuted by other researchers in the future. It would helpful to know what the numbers are and what this set of researchers and peer reviewers consider to be "significant".
Beyond that is the problem with many of these studies is that there are just so many confounding factors that can obliterate true cause-effect conclusions. Think about your own life, how many different things have you done vis a vis life style, eating habits, and living conditions over the past 30 years? Now, assume some researcher attempts to use your life as a case study for some particular element of the life you are leading and an element that may have been one of the constants over the past 30 years of your life. Should something that happens be linked to that one event in your life, or could it be a result of something else you did in the past? The real question is whether various cause/effect conclusions are valid based upon a single element pulled from a diverse set of lifestyles. The conclusions based upon a sampling of people in, for example, a certain industry is also only a starting point -- those people may have a certain malady, but it may also be due to them having come from similar backgrounds.
What many researchers will say is that these statistical studies are useful in identifying areas of further research, not as conclusive on their own. More detailed research would then identify root-cause mechanisms for postulated problems or refute the findings by not finding any root-cause mechanism that would support the statistical findings.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety
Army General Richard Cody +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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On Sun, 06 Feb 2005 11:35:29 -0700, Mark & Juanita

Actually it does help. It gives you a piece of evidence -- should you choose to accept it -- and a solid reference to look at for more information about that piece of evidence should you have questions.
You're quite correct that there are a lot of studies out there that have to be taken with a grain of salt, but critical thinking is a critical skill on the Internet. People who brandish studies like mystical talismans are at best grinding an axe and at worst are seriously deluded. (And no, I'm not implying that's what's going on here.)
--RC
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad
-- Suzie B
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Mark & Juanita wrote: ...

Correlation does <not> imply causation is what you're trying to say...
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wrote:

Yup. Pretty much sums up in 11 words what I was saying in 1100. :-)
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ The absence of accidents does not mean the presence of safety
Army General Richard Cody +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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Retrospective studies only select for those criteria that meet the study measures. There's no control on the data, ie...no cohorts from 'outside' of the study parameters to act as a baseline measure. So the data is generally poor at best. And 12 cases doesn't power the analysis enough to statistically challenge the results. But I'm no expert....I've only been a medical/biological scientist since 1977.
bill

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http://oem.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/57/6/376
Seems a bit at odds with the original "study", though, as indicated, the incidence of NPC is so low that any study should only be considered provisional.

CASE-CONTROL
pooled
dust
male
duration
with
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On Sat, 5 Feb 2005 08:53:14 -0500, "Bill Otten"

I read that as 12 studies, not 12 cases.
--RC

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad
-- Suzie B
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BCD wrote:

A friend of mine, who was an avid woodworker, developed a persistent cough with chest pains. After many test it was determined that he had a fungus infection of the lungs called Cryptococcal disease (see http://www.bccdc.org/news.php?item4 ). This disease is more common in tropical areas. He hadn't been in the tropics but he did work with tropical hardwood. There was nothing done to prove that the exposure to sawdust was the cause but it is something to consider.
-- Jack Novak Buffalo, NY - USA (Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
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Yes it can cause sinus cancer. I am a hardwood floor finisher and have heard of others getting it. I alway's wear a dust mask. (When I remember) But exposure in a wood shop with dust collection would be less. My next project is going to be a down draft table!!

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On Fri, 4 Feb 2005 19:46:21 -0500, the inscrutable "BCD"

I didn't use any dust control for the first 12 years of my woodworking hobby and died of lung cancer 3 years ago. It really hurt, too.

Kidding aside, it's the small dust particles that you can't see which do the worst damage. Make sure your collector is HEPA rated, collecting dust down to 0.3 microns in size.
--
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spake:

cancer
his
So that's what stinks around here.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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I teach environmental engineering, but not air pollution control. However, if you go to Google and search using the terms "wood dust health hazards" you will find more than you probably want to read. You might also go to the OSHA website, www.osha.gov and the US EPA website, www.epa.gov and use the same search terms.
Good luck and safe breathing.
Bill snipped-for-privacy@NOSPAM.engr.siu.edu

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